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Mozambique Boat Sinking Death Toll Rises To 96 – Authorities

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The death toll from the sinking of a makeshift ferry boat off the north coast of Mozambique has risen to 96, local authorities said Monday.

The converted fishing boat, carrying about 130 people, ran into trouble on Sunday as it was trying to reach an island off Nampula province, officials said.

“Five more (bodies) have been found in the last few hours, therefore we are talking about 96 deaths,” Silverio Nauaito, the island’s administrator, told AFP.

Among them were three children, he added. Rescuers have found 11 survivors and search operations are continuing, the official said.

On Sunday, authorities said the boat was believed to have sunk as it was overcrowded and unsuited to carrying passengers.

Most of those on board were trying to escape the mainland because of a panic caused by disinformation about cholera, according to Nampula’s secretary of state Jaime Neto.

The southern African country, one of the world’s poorest, has recorded almost 15,000 cases of waterborne disease and 32 deaths since October, according to government data.

Nampula is the worst affected region, accounting for a third of all cases.

The boat was headed to the Island of Mozambique, a small coral islet that used to serve as the capital of Portuguese East Africa and gave its name to the country.

Unverified footage circulating online appeared to show dozens of bodies lying on a beach.

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