At least 20 killed in boat fire at Congo River port

The injured are being treated at a nearby hospital with third degree burns.

In Summary

• Interior Minister, Didier Tenge, told a local radio station that the Sunday accident happened around 13:00 local time at the Ngafura Port, in the outskirts of the capital, Kinshasa.

• Boarding of cargo vessels by passengers in prohibited in the country, Mr Tenge said.

Boats on the Congo River, like this one pictured, are often overcrowded
Boats on the Congo River, like this one pictured, are often overcrowded
Image: AFP

At least 20 people have been reported dead and 11 others severely burnt after a vessel caught fire at a port on the Congo River, in DR Congo.

Interior Minister, Didier Tenge, told a local radio station that the Sunday accident happened around 13:00 local time at the Ngafura Port, in the outskirts of the capital, Kinshasa.

The vessel was loaded with flammable products and was heading upstream to Équateur province, according to Papy Epiana, a member of the local provincial assembly.

Boarding of cargo vessels by passengers in prohibited in the country, Mr Tenge said.

The injured are being treated at a nearby hospital with third degree burns.

Many people use boats to travel long distances in DR Congo because of its poor road network.

Passengers have to wait for days, sometimes weeks before finding a vessel to travel on the Congo River and its tributaries.

Deadly boat accidents are common because of overcrowding.

Recently, at least 55 people were killed when an overloaded boat sank on the Congo River in the northern Mongala province.

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