Con­golese kids drown re­turn­ing from Zam­bia

African Times - - International / Africa - ARNOLD MULENGA IN L USAKA, ZAM­BIA

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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