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DRC Investigating Latest Fatal Boat Accidents

The Democratic Republic of Congo is investigating the causes of two separate boat accidents that killed at least 24 people with up to 60 others missing.

A cargo vessel caught fire and overturned on the Kasai River in southern Congo on Saturday and a motorboat struck an object and sank in the Ruki River in northwestern Congo on Sunday.

Information Minister Lambert Mende said Monday that his government is investigating both incidents.

He said the cargo ship had no right to take on passengers, and that the operator of the vessel will be dealt with as a criminal.

A lack of roads forces travelers in Congo to depend on unsafe riverboats for transportation.

Mende said the government regulates river transport. But he said the country is covered by rivers and that greedy lawbreakers often take advantage of the necessity to use boats.

In May, up to 80 people died when a boat capsized on the Maniema River in eastern Congo. In July, about 140 people died when a boat overturned on the Congo River in Bandundu province.