In a devastating incident, a boat carrying more than 100 passengers capsized in the middle of the Benue River on a fateful Saturday.
The ill-fated vessel was ferrying traders, women, and children en route to Binnari town in Karim-Lamido Local Government Area of Taraba State, with many passengers returning from the Mayoreneyo fish market in Ardo-Kola LGA.
The journey commenced at around 3:30 pm when the boat left the Mayoreneyo local jetty but tragically capsized just 40 minutes later, as per reliable sources.
Musa Mayoreneyo, a resident of Mayoreneyo, revealed that the same boat had earlier transported passengers from Binnari to Mayoreneyo, setting the stage for this heart-wrenching disaster.
Disturbingly, none of the passengers on board had life jackets when the calamity unfolded, according to an insider at the Mayoreneyo local jetty.
Jidda Mayoreneyo, the acting chairman of inland water transporters in Taraba State, reported that approximately 15 bodies were recovered near the accident site. Moreover, more bodies, including many children, were still being sought by local divers.
Fortunately, several passengers were rescued thanks to the swift response of operators of other boats traversing the river when the incident occurred. The fact that the accident happened during daylight was pivotal in the successful rescue operation. As a result, the association has banned nighttime journeys, recognizing the inherent difficulties in conducting rescue operations after dark.
Dalhatu Kawu, the chairman of the caretaker committee of Ardo-Kola LGA, described the incident as a tragic event, emphasizing the pressing need for stricter waterway regulations to mitigate the occurrence of boat accidents. He pointed out that many operators in the state disregard safety protocols, including providing life jackets for passengers.
Usman Abdullahi, the spokesman for the state police command, confirmed the incident but could not ascertain the precise number of passengers on the ill-fated boat. Search and rescue efforts continue as local divers work tirelessly to locate those who are still missing, painting a grim picture of the scale of this heartrending tragedy.
Catholic Priest and Four Others Abducted in Taraba
In a distressing turn of events, Reverend Fr. Thaddeus Tarhembe, a Catholic Priest responsible for Saint Anne’s Parish in Sarkin Kudu Ibi, Wukari Diocese, Taraba State, has been abducted. The announcement came from the Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. Mark Nzukwein, as detailed in a press release signed by the Diocese’s Director of Communication, Rev. Fr. John Jerome Laikei on Sunday.
Gunmen forcibly entered the priest’s residence on Sunday, seizing him and taking him to an undisclosed location. This unsettling incident has raised concerns and heightened tensions in the area.
Additionally, four individuals were kidnapped in a separate incident near Winners’ Comprehensive School in Jalingo on Saturday night. The assailants reportedly targeted a housewife, her two daughters, and a house helper. While the house help, a young girl, was fortunately released by the kidnappers, the other three victims remain in captivity.
SP Abdullahi Usman, the Police spokesman for the Taraba State Police Command, confirmed the abductions and the subsequent release of the house help. Law enforcement authorities are actively engaged in efforts to secure the safe release of the remaining victims, and investigations into these distressing incidents are ongoing.