Relatives of people killed in a boat accident in the Democratic Republic Of Congo went on a rampage Thursday and set fire to government buildings in the country, according to reports. At least 30 people were killed after an overloaded boat hit a rock and sank in the Congo River on Monday.
Officials were on their way to visit the northern town of Isangi, the boat's destination, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Authorities also clarified that there were about 105 survivors while rescue officers pulled out about 30 bodies from the accident spot near the Yakusu II village, nearly 21 miles from the eastern provincial capital of Kisangani.
"At its departure, in Kisangani, the boat embarked 39 people according to the register handed over to the authorities," Monulphe Bosso, a spokesperson for the provincial government said, according to AFP, adding: "Perhaps they were trying to cheat river surveillance services... as they took more passengers on board along the way. They embarked many more people... the boat was carrying a lot of goods and was also crowded with people. They hit a rock."
Protesters reportedly accused authorities of not doing enough to ensure safe transportation in the country. Protesters in Isangi set fire to the offices of river police and the naval force, Bosso said, adding that the rioters were "angered by the loss of their relatives, they say people (the authorities) are not rigorous enough" in making river travel safer.
Disasters involving water-based transport are a common occurrence on the continent due to inadequate safety equipment and overloaded vessels. In December, about 129 people died after an overcrowded boat sank on Lake Tanganyika, on the border of Congo and Tanzania. The lake is considered to be the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, and is the second deepest after Lake Baikal in Siberia.