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LUKUTU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO MARCH 17: Unidentified men through in waste in a fire on March 17, 2006 in Lukutu, Congo, DRC. The steam engines run most of the palm oil factory in this small village along the Congo River, about 1500 kilometers from Kinshasa, the capital. The factory is a big producer of palm oil, which is used for cooking. The Belgians built the factory in 1911 and it was closed during the recent civil war. About 10,000 people are dependent on the factory, the only one in the area. Congo River is a lifeline for millions of people, who depend on it for transport and trade. During the Mobuto era, big boats run by the state company ONATRA dominated the traffic on the river. These boats had cabins and restaurants etc. All the boats are now private and are mainly barges that transport goods. The crews sell tickets to passengers who travel in very bad conditions, mixing passengers with animals, goods and only about two toilets for five hundred passengers. The conditions on the boats often resemble conditions in a refugee camp. Congo is planning to hold general elections by July 2006, the first democratic elections in forty years. (Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson)...
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