Volunteers prepare to carry the bodies of people killed after a boat carrying mostly Congolese refugees capsized at the shores of Lake Albert in Ntoroko district in Western Uganda, March 24, 2014.(REUTERS/Edward Echwalu)
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At least 251 Congolese refugees drowned in the weekend sinking of a crowded boat on Lake Albert, the Congolese government confirmed Thursday, declaring three days of national mourning.The boat was travelling from Uganda, which sits across the lake from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and was transporting around 300 people who were returning home from refugee camps.The boat was transporting refugees who had fled fighting between the Congolese military and ADF rebels, and were returning home on their own initiative.Saturday's disaster happened just days after Congolese authorities launched a campaign to enforce the wearing of life jackets aboard all boats on the nation's many waterways.
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