National
Congolese hold prayers for boat accident victimsPublish Date: Apr 06, 2014
Congolese hold prayers for boat accident victims
  • mail
  • img
Lake Albert is a huge expanse of water
newvision

By Pascal Kwesiga

The Congolese Community in Kampala has held prayers for over Congolese refugees who perished in a boat accident on Lake Albert last month.


The prayers at St, Mathias Mulumba Catholic Church in Rubaga, a Kampala suburb, were presided over by Rev Father Joseph Kalenzi.

During the function, the Congolese asked God to forgive their fellow countrymen of their sins and grant them eternal peace.

A total of 109 bodies of Congolese refugees were retrieved from Lake Albert after the boat they were travelling from Kyangwali Refugee Resettlement Camp in Hoima capsized at Kitebere landing site in Kibaale district, a few hours after takeoff, over two weeks ago.

The refugees who were eager to return home following the return of peace in eastern DRC boarded the ill-fated boat at Kenjojo landing site in Hoima district. It’s suspected that there were over 200 people on the boat. A total of 45 people were rescued by fishermen.

A total of 88 bodies were handed over to the Congolese authorities at the border between Uganda and DRC for burial. But the Congolese authorities rejected 21 bodies retrieved from the water 72 hours after they had died.

Addressing a press conference in Kampala on Friday, the DRC ambassador to Uganda, Jean-Charles Okoto Lolakombe, defended the rejection of the bodies saying “They had decomposed and culture does not allow us to burry people 72 hours after they have died. These were buried at Bundibugyo hospital cemetery,” he said.

The ambassador explained that there would be a tripartite meeting between DRC, Uganda and United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Kampala from April 21 to 24 to agree on the voluntary repatriation of the Congolese refugees from Uganda. “All our people want to return home because they know peace has been restored and we want to ensure they are repatriated in a dignified manner,” he said.

The Lake Albert incident, Lolakombe said, would not jeopardize the friendly relations between Uganda and DRC, adding that preliminary investigations have showed that the accident was caused by over loading and poor mechanical condition of the boat.

“We are told the boat had been loaded three times its capacity of 50 passengers. It has about 215 people, 109 bodies were recovered, 45 survived and the search for more bodies is continuing,” he said.

A Congolese delegation, the ambassador said, had found out that their nationals were not running away from the camp due to “poor conditions”.

“We went there and found that the refugees were healthy and they had enough food. There are currently 21,000 Congolese refugees in the camp and many of them have returned home,” he added.
 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Uganda pilgrims arrive from Israel
The group of 19 Ugandans, comprising Christians and Muslims, who on July 13 left the country to replicate the journey Israelite led by Moses journeyed from Egypt to the promised land Jerusalem, and to tour the holy lands, has returned....
Busoga parents warned against child marriages
Busoga parents have been warned against marrying off under age girls. The vice deprives them of their bright future, state minister for gender, Rukia Nakadama has said....
Police arrest suspicious traditional healers
The Police in Mityana are holding four people suspected to be fake traditional healers. The suspects were held from Kabuwambo village, in Busimbi Sub county Mityana district...
Universities told to stop duplicating courses
Kamanda Bataringaya, the state minister for primary education, punched more holes in the country’s higher institutions of learning when he said they were duplicating courses...
38 foreigners arrested, face deportation
THE Department of Inspection and Legal Services, Ministry of Internal Affairs has arrested 38 foreigners, including traders illegally operating their businesses in Uganda...
Foreign firms compete to develop Makerere land
Chinese and Korean firms are among 12 firms that have expressed interest in developing Makerere University’s idle lands, as Uganda’s oldest public university seeks to diversify its revenue basket....
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter