Niamey: At least two people died and around 11 schoolchildren were missing Monday after a hippopotamus attacked a boat on the Niger River near the capital Niamey, local authorities said.
“We recovered the bodies of two villagers and counted five survivors, and at least 11 pupils are missing,” a local official told AFP.
Two of the survivors were children, he added. The hippo overturned the boat with at least 18 people aboard, mostly children, he said.
The boat was crossing the Niger River that flows through the capital Niamey. The children cross the river every day to go to school, local sources said.
Witnesses said rescue workers were searching for other victims. Game wardens shot dead a hippo last year after it killed a teenager in Niamey.
Hippos with young in tow are the most aggressive, even attacking cattle that come to graze on the banks of the Niger River, experts say.