More than 130 missing after boat sinks in Kebbi state


More than 130 people are missing in Nigeria after a boat broke in two and sank, officials say.

Most of the passengers were women and children travelling from Niger to Kebbi state in northwest Nigeria.

Eyewitnesses say more than 160 people were on the vessel and just 22 have been rescued.

Local authorities told the BBC that divers and emergency workers are trying to save others. However, it is unlikely that many survivors will be found.

“A rescue operation is under way but only 22 survivors and one dead body have been recovered,” Abdullahi Buhari Wara, administrative head of Ngaski district, told the AFP news agency.

“We are talking of around 140 passengers still missing.”

He blamed the accident on overloading, as the boat was meant to carry no more than 80 passengers.

The boat was also loaded with bags of sand from a gold mine, he said.

Boat accidents along the River Niger are common with overcrowding a major cause, as well as collisions with tree trunks under the water.

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