UN refugee agency shocked by drowning of refugees in Uganda's Lake Albert

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Ugandan fishermen in their pirogues search for victims of the boat capsizing on Lake Albert. © UNHCR/M.Sibiloni

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says it's shocked and saddened by a boat tragedy in which a number of refugees died on Uganda's Lake Albert over the weekend.

The agency says the boat was one of two that left Hoima district on Saturday morning carrying refugees who were returning to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Uganda.

UNHCR spokesperson, Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, says the refugees had been in Uganda for more or less three years and felt the situation was now safe enough for them to go back home.

"We are very shocked and sad for what happened over the weekend on Lake Albert when a boat carrying, according to refugees, as many as 250 people capsized. There were apparently too many people on board which is why the boat capsized. As of today, there are 98 people confirmed dead. Their bodies have been transferred to eastern Uganda where we are helping with the funerals. There are 41 survivors, which means that many more people are still missing." (33")

Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba said the search and rescue efforts continue.

Uganda is a major refugee-hosting country, with more than 328,000 refugees and asylum seekers as of the end of February, according to UNHCR.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’34″

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