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Boat capsizes off Uganda, at least 19 people die

By Philippa Croome for CNN
March 23, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The boat was en route from a settlement camp in western Uganda to the DRC
  • The search continues for 32 men, women and children
  • Accidents are common among the often overloaded, wooden boats
  • "It is the cheapest transport," says a police spokesman

Kampala, Uganda (CNN) -- At least 19 people died Saturday when a boat carrying Congolese refugees capsized on Lake Albert, police said.

The boat was en route from a settlement camp in western Uganda to the Democratic Republic of Congo when it overturned at about 10:30 a.m., according to police, who said 45 people were rescued as the search continued for 32 missing men, women and children.

The boat, which was carrying 96 people, more than twice its capacity, capsized off Ndaiga in Kibale district, police said.

Accidents are common among the often overloaded wooden boats that sustain communities along Lake Albert, which lies between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but police have difficulty enforcing safety standards.

Ugandan police spokesman Patrick Onyango said the refugees had left from the Kyangwali settlement camp in Hoima district. "They were leaving the camp to get back to their country, and it is the cheapest transport for them," he said.

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