Kano – Six children drowned when two boats collided and capsized in northwest Nigeria, the emergency services said on Wednesday.
A passenger boat on the River Niger collided head-on with another vessel carrying onions to a market in the fishing town of Yauri in Kebbi state on Tuesday evening.
Sani Dodo, head of the Kebbi state emergency management agency, told AFP: “We have recovered six bodies of children – five boys and a girl between the ages of five and eight.
“Sixty passengers were rescued and 13 of them have been taken to hospital for treatment from various injuries.”
Divers were conducting a search for 12 other people from the passenger boat who were unaccounted for, he added.
“The boats were sailing in the dark without lights at about 21:00 on Tuesday when they collided and capsized.”
The 78 passengers were mostly traders from Suru village, on the other side of the river.
The five-man crew on the cargo boat survived, said Dodo.
Last September, 56 people drowned after an overloaded boat carrying more than 100 traders from the Niger republic capsized on the river in the Bagudu district of Kebbi.
Capsizes happen frequently in Nigeria due to overcrowding and inadequately maintained vessels, particularly during the annual rainy season but collisions are not common.