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UN PEACEKEEPERS IN DR CONGO RESCUE 29 PEOPLE IN LAKE KIVU FERRY MISHAP

By UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION CENTRE
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6 April - United Nations blue helmets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have rescued dozens of people stranded on Lake Kivu after a ferry boat they had boarded to travel south to the city of Bukavu ran aground on rocks.

Peacekeepers from the UN mission (known as MONUC) yesterday picked up 25 passengers, including Deputy Governor of the South Kivu province Jean-Paul Kibala, and four crew members, when the Amani ran aground along the 75-kilometre trip from the village of Kashofu to Bukavu, on the southern tip of the lake.

MONUC's riverine unit responded to the alarm by sending five officers and 25 crew members in two fast patrol boats and three rubber boats to pick up the stranded group, according to information released by the mission.

The passengers were taken to a location near Idjwi island, where they boarded a second ferry, the Marinett Express, and resumed the trip to Bukavu, 20 kilometres away.

There were no injuries reported during the incident, and the Uruguayan peacekeepers were able to free the stranded ferry and repair its engines.

MONUC was set up in 1999 to help restore stability and democratic processes in the DRC, which had been torn apart by years of civil war and revolts that led to the deaths of an estimated 4 million people.