Seven Congolese refugees drown in Lake Mweru

By Staff Reporter

Seven people suspected to be Congolese refugees have drowned while three others are still missing after a boat carrying an unknown number of people capsized on Lake Mweru.

Police Public relations Officer Esther Mwaata Katongo in a statement said the report of drowning was made at Chiengi police by 42 year old Setty Mushika who is also village head woman Kasote of Chief Puta in Chiengi District.

Katongo said upon receiving the report, police rushed to the scene at Kasote village and found four (4) bodies of juveniles – two girls, Senki Lamani (17 months old) and 4 year old Belinda Chola and two boys; 2 months old Alphonso Manda and 8 months old Chishala Kalumba all of Nsomboshi village Chief Mpweto of Mpweto District of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The bodies of three people are still missing and these are an 18 year old woman Chungu Zali, a girl aged 13 years identified as Muchi Kalombo and a boy Mpweto Mulenga aged 14 years,” she said.
She further said about 22 people survived the accident who included eight female adults, eight female juveniles and six male juveniles.

“After investigations, it was revealed that about 35 Congolese refugees at Kenani Refugee Camp in Nchelenge district left the refugee camp without authorization and hired a boat of a man only identified as Chibwili of Ntoto Village, Chief Kambwali, Nchelenge District but the boat was overloaded,” she said

Katongo said the engine boat was towing another small boat carrying luggage and a few people. Upon reaching near Kasote village a strong wind made the small boat to capsize after which the engine boat also capsized.

“The boat’s Coxswain aged 21, Davies Kalumba has been detained under Sect 23(1) Cap 466 of the Marine Act. The bodies are at Chiengi hospital as search continues,” she said.