Niger Boat Disaster Toll Rises To 13

The death toll from a boat accident involving villagers fleeing attacks by gangs in Niger state 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 said.

“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 a number of passengers.

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

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