Nigeria boat disaster toll climbs to 13: official

By: AFP
Published: 08:00 PM, 1 Apr, 2022
Nigeria boat disaster toll climbs to 13: official
Caption: Nigeria boat disaster toll climbs to 13
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The death toll from a boat accident involving villagers fleeing attacks by gangs in northern Nigeria has risen to 13 after five more bodies were recovered, an emergency services official said Friday.

An overloaded canoe carrying mostly women and children capsized in a river as they were fleeing raids on Guni and Kurgbaku villages in Niger State, Ibrahim Ahmad Inga, head of the state's emergency management agency said.

Initially Inga had said the bodies of two women and six children were recovered on Wednesday while the search for five more missing passengers was ongoing.

"The death toll is now 13. Five remaining bodies were recovered from the river late yesterday (Thursday)," Inga told AFP.

"The latest recovery included a woman and four children. In all, three women and 10 children drowned in the mishap," he said.

Inga blamed the accident on overload and lack of maintenance as the canoe was too old to carry such number of passengers.

Boat mishaps are common on Nigerian waterways mostly due to overcrowding and bad maintenance, particularly in the annual rainy season.

Northwest and central Nigeria have been troubled for years by criminal gangs known locally as bandits who raid villages, killing and abducting residents after looting and burning homes.

The gangs, which were officially declared terrorists in January, have recently intensified deadly attacks despite military operations on their hideouts.

On Monday bandits attacked a train in neighbouring Kaduna state, killing eight passengers and injuring 26 others in an unprecedented attack, two days after an attack on Kaduna airport left a security guard dead.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.