Niger: 16 killed in boat mishap while escaping gunmen attack

daadaae niger state
daadaae niger state

From John Adams, Minna

As gunmen continue their onslaught on Niger communities for the fifth day running, 16 people, including women and children, lost their lives in a boat mishap in River Shiroro while trying to escape gunmen attacks on their community.

The incident occurred Wednesday morning when the gunmen, said to be numbering over 200 invaded Shayita community in Munya Local Government Area and in their usual manner, ransacked the entire community looting foodstuff and other valuables.

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The people, according to a source close to the community, had earlier gotten the wind of the attack by the gunmen and had begun to evacuate their belonging to relocate from the community.

According to our source, no fewer than ten boats took off from Shayita in Munya Local Government Area and heading to Zumba in Shiroro local government area when one of the boats capsized midway into their journey, leaving 16 people feared dead.

The boat was said to be carrying about 60 people, mostly women and children with their belongings trying to cross over to the neighbouring Zumba community when the unfortunate incident occurred.

While some of the victims were rescued, many are still missing, fueling the possibility that the death toll could be more than the 16 whose bodies have been recovered by local divers in the community.

It was gathered that the rescue operation has been temporarily suspended by the locals as the gunmen closed up on the people, forcing them to not only suspend the rescue operation but also abandoned the 16 bodies earlier recovered at the river bank and flee to safety.

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As of the time of this report, about nine boats had arrived at the Zumba river bank where the popular Saturday market is being bought.

There is no statement from either the government or the state police command at the time of this report but another source close to the Zumba community told Daily Sun that about nine boats carrying over 300 people from Shayita arrived Zumba river bank at about 10 am this morning with their belongings.

It could be recalled that gunmen had sustained attacks on about 15 communities across three local government areas of Shiroro, Munya and Paikoro, killing an unspecified number of people and abducting over 30 people.

Animals and other properties were stolen from the people as hundreds have been forced to relocate from their homes.

The commissioner for local government and internal security, Emmanuel Umar, while interacting with newsmen on Tuesday, disclosed that some successes have been achieved in the last few days by the security agents in the war against the gunmen, including the recovery of an undisclosed number of animals.

He also said that a man suspected to be the supplier of Indian hemp to the gunmen was also apprehended by the security agents.

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