John Adams, Minna
Tragedy struck in Gurumana community of Shiroro local government area of Niger state when no fewer than six people got drown in river Shiroro while escaping bandits attack.
Those killed in the canoe mishap include two women, their two children and two men. Armed bandits had struck in a nearby community and on hearing of the attack, the villagers from Gurumana began to flee for safety, and in the process, the victims got drowned.
The victims were among the hundreds that fled from the bandits attack which eyewitnesses said occurred at about 8pm Thursday.
A source close to the community told our correspondent that the canoe capsized when they had almost escaped to safety.
According to the co-convener of Concerned Shiroro Youths, Sani Abubakar Kokki, the latest incident is one too many as a number of villagers had died in similar circumstances in the past.
“The incident occurred last night, a canoe conveying locals who were fleeing from terrorist attacks capsized. Some of the passengers onboard drowned.
“As a proactive measure, the victims upon hearing about the terrorists attacking adjoining villages decided to run for their lives but unfortunately, they met their untimely death while trying to escape. I can tell you that unfortunate incidents of this nature had happened in the past and some have claimed many productive lives.”
Kokki however disclosed that the search for the bodies of the victims by volunteer rescuers, divers and fishermen have begun, adding that some bodies of the victims have been found.
“I personally witnessed the search efforts at Gurmana riverbank, scene of the unfortunate incident and as at this time, rescuers are determined to recover their corpses. Frantic efforts are being intensified”
The Director General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Inga confirmed the incident saying that search and rescue operation was ongoing.