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More than 130 people reported missing in Nigeria after boat sank as it broke apart in storm

At least one person has died and more than 130 are still missing after a packed river boat capsized in the northwestern Nigerian state of Kebbi during stormy weather, according to local officials.

The boat sank in the Niger River on Wednesday, after it departed from the central state of Niger on its way to the town of Wara in Kebbi, local administrative official Abdullahi Buhari Wara was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

He said 22 survivors and one body had been recovered from among the roughly 160 passengers onboard when the vessel capsized at around 10am local time.

The governor of Kebbi’s spokesperson, Yahaya Sarki, said that some 200 passengers had been on the boat, which had only been designed to take 80, Reuters reported. He said multiple bodies had been retrieved from the river, but the final number of victims was as yet unknown.

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Wara said the wooden vessel was also carrying cargo, including 160 bags of sand, when it collided with an object in the water.

Local officials said the boat was returning from a local market, while other reports suggested those onboard had been returning from a gold mine.

Similar sinkings have been reported before in Kebbi, due to boats being overcrowded or colliding with tree trunks. An incident in the state in September killed eight people, according to the BBC’s Hausa Service. 

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