Collision between two buses leaves 40 dead and 87 injured

Forty people were killed and dozens injured in a collision between two buses in Senegal, the firefighters said on Sunday. The accident took place on the night of Saturday to Sunday, at 03:15 local time (01:15 GMT), near the town of Kaffrine, about 250 km southeast of the capital Dakar, according to a statement from the National Fire Brigade. According to a government press release, the frontal collision resulted in a new provisional report, “40 dead, 36 seriously injured and 49 slightly injured”.

The Head of State, “deeply saddened by the tragic road accident”, decided on “a national mourning of three days from Monday”. He is expected on site in the afternoon, as are the Prime Minister and several ministers. An interministerial council will be held on Monday for “the taking of firm measures on road safety and public passenger transport”, specified the Head of State. The public prosecutor of Kaolack gave details on the cause of the tragedy: “according to the first elements of the investigation (…), a bus assigned to the public transport of passengers, following the bursting of a tire , left its trajectory before colliding head-on with another bus coming in the opposite direction”.

Frequent bus accidents in Africa

The victims were transported to Kaffrine hospital, the carcasses of the buses cleared and the road reopened to traffic, according to the firefighters. The main Senegalese opponent Ousmane Sonko, candidate for the 2024 presidential election, indicated on Twitter that he was postponing a fundraising operation because of the accident and called on the authorities to “give priority attention” to road insecurity, a “scourge with disastrous human, social and economic consequences for the country”.

Bus accidents are frequent in Africa, due to poor vehicle maintenance, bad roads but also driving errors, many motorists being holders of permits bought from corrupt inspectors, without having ever attended driving school. Twenty-one people were killed on Saturday evening in East Africa in a bus accident on the border between Kenya and Uganda, Ugandan police said on Sunday. The majority of those who died are of Kenyan nationality but there are also eight Ugandans. According to the police, 49 people were injured.

According to the first elements of the investigation, the driver would have lost control of the vehicle due to excessive speed. The Ugandan government is preparing new measures to improve road safety after a rise in fatal accidents during the holiday season. According to the Ugandan police, 104 road accidents were recorded in just three days, from December 30 to January 1, leaving 35 dead and 114 injured. Last week, at least 14 people were killed in Côte d’Ivoire and 73 injured in a collision between two buses in Yamoussoukro (center) and 18 people died in a collision between two vehicles in northern Nigeria.

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