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19 people drowned after boat capsizes in Benin

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December 17, 2012 11:09 AM EST | AP


COTONOU, Benin — Officials say at least 19 people drowned after a boat capsized on a river near a village in Benin's south.

The mayor of the town of Abomey, Patrice Hounsou Guede, said Monday on local radio that most of the victims were women and children who were returning from school by taking a boat over the river. She said 19 people drowned and eight people lived.

Witnesses say the boat was only meant to hold 12 people, but the man running it had charged for 27 people and four motorbikes.

For the residents of Ouedo, crossing this river is the easiest and cheapest way to access the market across the river in Togba as there is no bridge.

Guede says the man who ran the boat has been arrested.