Five villagers fleeing from bandits have been feared drowned at Gurmana river in Shiroro local government area of Niger state.
The drowned victims include three women and two children.
The Nation learnt the villagers fled the community when they heard of bandit attacks in the adjoining villages.
They boarded canoes to cross the river to safety.
A source told The Nation one of the canoes capsized when it was close to the shores.
Co-convener of Concerned Shiroro Youths, Sani Abubakar Kokki, confirmed the incident.
He said it was normal for neighbouring villages to flee once they get news of bandit attacks in other villages.
“The incident occurred last night, a canoe conveying locals who were fleeing from terrorist attacks capsized. Some of the passengers onboard drowned,” he stated.
Kokki said a search party has been launched for the victims by volunteer rescuers, divers and fishermen.
He informed none of the bodies of the drowned victims have been found.
Director-General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Inga confirmed the incident, saying search and rescue operation was ongoing.
Calls and messages to Niger Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Abiodun Wasiu were unreplied.