Up to 100 dead in ferry disaster on Lake Tanganyika

Up to 100 people were presumed dead following a fire on a ferry on the Congolese side of Lake Tanganyika, in Central Africa, reports said on Wednesday in Kinshasa.

The ferry was travelling south from Uvira to Kalemie with several tonnes of freight, including barrels of oil and petrol, when the engine caught fire, United Nations-run Radio Okapi reported.

Only 18 people were thought to have survived the accident.

Waterways are the favourite transport routes in vast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has only a few hundred kilometres of paved roads.

Deadly ferry accidents are common, as the boats are usually overloaded with goods and passengers.

The waters of Lake Tanganyika fall within four countries—Burundi, DRC, Tanzania and Zambia.

DRC is preparing to hold its first multi-party elections in 40 years on July 30.

The European Union has said it will send about 2 000 troops to help secure the election and bolster the 17 000-strong UN peacekeeping contingent already stationed there.—Sapa-dpa

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