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Eighteen people including 15 young girls have drowned when their canoe capsized in Buji River, in Bauchi state on Friday, police said.

Boat accidents in Nigeria are most of the time caused by overloading, disregard of safety guidelines, lack of maintenance and bad weather.

The canoe was ferrying passengers to a farm on the other side of Buji River when it was overturned, police spokesman Ahmed Mohammed Wakil said in a statement.

“Corpses were removed from the river and taken to General Hospital Itas,” Wakil said. “A medical doctor certified 18 people dead.”

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A list of the victims showed 15 of them were girls between the ages of eight and 15 while the other three were males aged between 20 and 30.

“Five (passengers) were rescued,” Wakil added.

Loss of life is typically high when these accidents occur as many boats do not carry sufficient lifejackets and few learn how to swim.

In September, 12 people were killed in two boat accidents while 10 were killed in August.


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