28 May 2018

Zambia: Congolese Kids Drown Returning From Zambia

Lusaka — Seven children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)have drowned while attempting to return from Zambia.

The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) confirmed the deaths of the minors at the Lake Mweru on the border between the two countries.

It is believed they minors were among 35 people that had been returning to their crisis-torn country when their boat capsized. The rest survived.

The refugees were resident at the Kenani Transit Centre in Nchelenge in Zambia's northern Luapula Province.

With an average length of 118 km and average width is 45 km, Mweru is the longest part of the River Congo, Africa's second-longest river after the Nile.

Zambia currently hosts over 42 400 Congolese refugees.

Some 20 700 refugees have sought asylum in the country since the beginning of 2017. It is projected Zambia might host altogether some 76 000 refugees by the end of this year.

Humanitarian agencies have managed to raise only US$8,3 million (R103,7 million) out of more than $74,2 million required to address critical needs of Congolese refugees in the Southern African country.

DRC is facing multiple crises after President Joseph Kabila remained in power at the lapse of his tenure in 2016. The former military commander has ruled DRC since 2001 when his father Laurent was assassinated.

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