Courtesy Olanrewaju Elegbede
Twenty-one people were rescued from a boat mishap that killed at least 15 persons in Nigeria's northwestern Sokoto State on May 9, 2023.
Abuja, Nigeria CNN  — 

At least fifteen people have died after a boat capsized in Nigeria’s northwestern Sokoto State on Tuesday, authorities told CNN.

A police spokesman, Sanusi Abubakar, told CNN on Wednesday that 21 out of 36 people on board were rescued after the boat overturned in the Dandeji River in Sokoto’s Shagari district.

“There were 36 people on board. Twenty-one were rescued alive and 15 were drowned,” Abubakar said.

“Among the 15 who drowned were 13 females and two males,” he added.

District chairman, Aliyu Dantani, told state-run media the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the boat was carrying mainly children who were in search of firewood, when it capsized. Locals rely on firewood for fuel.

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The bodies of the deceased were recovered by local divers and buried Tuesday according to Muslim tradition, Dantani said.

The area has seen previous tragic boat accidents.

In April last year, around 29 people, mostly teenagers, died when a boat that ferried them across the Shagari river in search of firewood sank, local media reported at the time.

A year earlier, 13 people, including children lost their lives in another boat accident in the area.