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Nigeria mayhem: At least 103 wedding guests killed as boat capsizes after splitting into two

Most of those who drowned were relatives from several villages who attended the wedding together and partied late into the night.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Abuja Published on: June 14, 2023 9:19 IST
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Image Source : AP file

In a tragic incident, a boat, returning from a wedding ceremony, capsized in northern Nigeria, resulting in the killing of at least 103 people, including children on Monday. Residents and police were still searching for dozens of people who were on the overcrowded boat that capsized early Monday on the Niger River in the Pategi district of Kwara state, which is 160 kilometres from Ilorin, the state capital.

According to police spokesman Okasanmi Ajayi, 100 people had been rescued so far. Most of those who drowned were relatives from several villages who attended the wedding together and partied late into the night, according to Abdul Gana Lukpada, a local chief. They arrived at the ceremony on motorcycles but had to leave on the locally made boat after a downpour flooded the road, he said.

300 passengers were onboard

“The boat was overloaded and close to 300 persons were in it. While they were coming, the boat hit a big log inside the water and split into two,” said Lukpada. The wedding was held in the village of Egboti in the neighbouring Niger state, said Usman Ibrahim, a resident. Because the accident happened at 3 a.m., it was hours before many people knew what had happened, he said.

As the passengers drowned, villagers nearby rushed to the scene and managed to rescue about 50 at first, Lukpada said, describing early efforts to rescue the passengers as slow and “very difficult.” As of Tuesday afternoon, officials and locals were still searching for more bodies in the river, which is one of Nigeria’s largest. Police spokesman Ajayi said the rescue operation would continue through the night until Wednesday.

Deadliest boat accident 

Locals said it was the deadliest boat accident they have seen in many years. By Tuesday evening, all of the bodies recovered so far had been buried, most near the river, in accordance with local customs, Lukpada said.

Kwara Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s office issued a statement expressing sadness for the families of those killed and saying that he “continues to monitor the rescue efforts already mounted since Monday night in search of possible survivors.”

It is worth mentioning boat accidents are common in many remote communities across Nigeria where locally made vessels are commonly used for transport. Most accidents are attributed to overloading and the use of poorly maintained boats.

Also Read: Colombia children who survived plane crash for 40 days in Amazon jungle, claim their mother lived for days

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