Day of morning after Comoros boat tragedy

By Time of article published Sep 15, 2006

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Moroni - The authorities in the Comoros islands on Friday declared three days of national mourning for victims of a weekend boat accident in rough waters north of the vast Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.

Four bodies have so far been recovered, while 26 others are still missing after rescuers helped 46 to safety from the ill-fated Al-Moubarak which was ferrying passengers and cargo from Madagascar to Comoros on Saturday.

"On behalf of the head of state, I declare three days of national mourning," Vice-President Iklilou Dhoinine announced in a televised speech. "I request that the Friday prayers be held in mosques."

Dhoinine said that 11 stowaways were aboard the boat in addition to the 76 declared passengers.

Rescuers from the French island of Mayotte have been searching for survivors since news of the accident was received there on Monday when a survivor came ashore on an offshore island after drifting for 48 hours.

The captain of the boat is being held for questioning at Mayotte's capital Mamoudzou, as the authorities seek to establish the cause of the wreck. - Sapa-AFP

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