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Angolan boy swept away by Okavango river

01 August 2013, 11:00

Windhoek - An eight-year-old Angolan boy is feared drowned after trying to cross the mighty Okavango River to get to a better school in neighbouring Namibia, police said on Wednesday.

The boy's body is still missing two weeks after he was swept away, deputy police commissioner for Kavango in northern Namibia Willie Bampton told AFP.

Angola is Africa's second-biggest oil producer but struggles to provide basic services after a 27-year civil war crippled development.

Most people live under the poverty line.

For years children from Angola's impoverished southernmost Cuando Cubango region have crossed the hippo-infested torrents twice a day to get education in neighbouring Namibia, then return home.

The region still lacks basic infrastructure like roads, despite Angola's booming oil-driven growth.

The Okavango forms the border between the two countries, but is not diligently patrolled.

It is believed the pupil jumped out of a makeshift canoe on the daily journey, trying to swim away after suspecting there was a hippo in the water.

"There are no bridges or any other linking facilities, so there is nothing that we can do," a local politician told Namibia's New Era newspaper.



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