150 drown at sea off Sierra Leone
The passengers aboard the motorised canoe, who may have numbered 200 even though such vessels are built for a maximum of 100 people, were returning to the fishing town of Tombo with fuel and provisions on Monday. They had fled fighting in the port last week.
The sinking is the third in a month, the Sierra Leone Boatmen's Union said. "The boat sank because it was overloaded with more than 200 people and was carrying 300 bags of sugar," a union official said.
Fighting in the small, diamond-rich country has increased since January as rebels challenging the elected president, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, have stepped up their offensive against Ecomog - Nigerian-led peace enforcers sent to support the country's democratic but militarily weak government.
Ecomog and the Sierra Leonean government have banned most shipping along the country's coast, for fear that Liberian-backed rebels will smuggle arms into the coastal capital, Freetown, aboard fishing canoes. Apart from a brief spell in December and January, the rebels have not succeeded in entering Freetown.
The only shipping allowed is by fishermen aboard small canoes, under armed guard from Ecomog. All other boats know they are in danger of being sunk by the peace enforcers.
- 1 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
- 5 Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
Germanwings crash: The poignant final photograph taken by Iranian journalist on doomed flight after watching Barcelona play Real Madrid
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
Jeremy Clarkson calls on trolls to leave producer Oisin Tymon alone: 'None of this is his fault'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...