• January 27, 2023

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Ten bodies were fished out of the Niger River in Nigeria’s northern Kebbi state on Wednesday after an overloaded boat with about 100 passengers broke in two, a local official said.

The dilapidated vessel was crossing the river and broke in two as it approached the village of Samanaji in Koko-Besse district.

It had taken on passengers “way beyond its capacity,” said Yahaya Bello Koko, a district official.

“We found 10 passengers with the help of local divers, and we are still looking for 10 more,” he said.

They “are presumed drowned, considering the number of hours they spent in the river,” Koko said.

More than 80 passengers were rescued, he said.

Federal or state authorities were not immediately available.

Accidents involving boats are common in Nigeria. They are often linked to overloaded vessels, excessive speed, poor maintenance and disregard for navigation rules.

In October, at least 80 people drowned in two shipwrecks.

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