At least six people have died, and others, mostly farmers, missing after a canoe capsized and broke into two on River Benue, Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State.
Already four people rescued by volunteers have been rushed to hospitals, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
The canoe, conveying a yet to be identified number of passengers, mostly farmers from Mutum Biyu, was said to have capsized after hitting a stump.
The chairman of Gassol Local Government, Yahuza Yayau, said the death toll may rise as local fishermen and other volunteers continue search for more survivors in the river.
“As soon as we had got the hint of the mishap, we put a call to our local fishermen to help rescue the missing passengers.
“I was told that six dead bodies were discovered and four people rescued as search exercise continues,’’ said the local official.
A local rescuer said in a telephone interview that, “All the people on board were missing, but as search and rescue operations intensified, four people were discovered; six died and those rescued have been taken to hospital,” he said.
In a related matter, the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, NSEMA, has confirmed that 12 bodies of victims of boat mishap in River Kaduna had been recovered while 18 of the victims have been rescued alive.
Ibrahim Inga, Director General of the agency, who confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria in Minna on Monday, said that the deceased had since been buried.
NAN recalls that a boat carrying 30 traders from Kaduna State to Niger capsized on River Kaduna on September 16.
Mr. Inga disclosed that 30 passengers were on the boat from Kuduru, Boze and Shakulape in Chikwum Local government Area of Kaduna when it capsized as a result of heavy windstorm.
He said that the boat capsized 30 minutes after take off around Kuduru community.
He said that the traders were travelling to Kwata Market located in Zumba, in Shiroro Local Government Areas of Niger State.
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