President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, declared Friday a day of mourning across the territory in honour of the scores of people dead and missing after a boat incident.
All flags are also flying at half mast for the victims of the accident which happened on the Lake Kivu earlier this week.
“In memory of the victims of the sinking #Kalehe, flags set at half-mast throughout the territory to observe the national mourning of 24 hours, decreed by the President of the Republic, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi, this Friday 19 April 2019,” the presidency announced.
It’s because of certain economic operators who use rundown boats because of their greed.
The president had on Tuesday tweeted his condolence to the affected families and stressed that he was committed to ensuring that erring officials were brought to justice.
“We are going to do everything to make sure that this type of tragedy doesn’t happen again,” President Felix Tshisekedi said. “It’s because of certain economic operators who use rundown boats because of their greed.”
As at Thursday, authorities confirmed the death of 13 people, adding that over 140 people remained unaccounted for. Local fishermen were searching for the missing.
The boat, a smaller type known as a pirogue, had set out from neighbouring North Kivu province on Monday and foundered on the lake near South Kivu’s Kalehe territory.
En mémoire des victimes du naufrage de #Kalehe, drapeaux mis en berne sur toute l’étendue du territoire pour observer le deuil national de 24 heures, décrété par le Président de la République, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi, ce vendredi 19 avril 2019. pic.twitter.com/FEaKyJ7CaS
— Présidence RDC ?? (@Presidence_RDC) April 19, 2019
South Kivu province’s Minister of Transport, Jacqueline Ngengele told reporters: “On Monday the boat was launched out, but we are not sure exactly how many people were on board.
“It was in the evening that we received news that there was a boat wreck via phone, we understand the boat was in a deplorable state, and as part of the collaboration, we ask our colleague, Minister of Transport in North Kivu, to instruct all their technical services to ensure that no boat leaves without proper checks and permissions.”
Deadly boat accidents are frequent in the vast mineral nation, where boats are frequently overloaded beyond capacity.
In 2011, former President Joseph Kabila fired the country’s transport minister after a series of boat accidents.