September 17, 2014

80 missing in Central Africa riverboat sinking

Around 80 people are missing in Central African Republic after their boat sank last week on the M’poko River south of the capital Bangui, the government said on Wednesday.

“Only around 20 people have been saved. The boat had more than 100 onboard,” the minister of transport, Silvere Yabada, told AFP.

“The question we are asking ourselves is how around 100 people could agree to use a boat that was not suitable,” he said.

It was the same problem on the roads, he added: “We see people crammed into vehicles piled high with goods; five or six people together on one motorbike. It’s extremely dangerous.”

Several hundred people cross the M’poko River every day, travelling between rural areas and the capital.

The ferry that makes the crossing is regularly out of order, forcing locals to use small, overloaded boats. Sinkings are frequent.