Bus collision in Senegal kills 39 people

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Bus collision in Senegal kills 39 people

The head of state, who declared “three days of national mourning” from today, promised swift action to prevent “tragedies” of this nature from happening again.

Thirty-nine people were killed and around 100 others injured in Senegal when two buses collided, prompting President Macky Sall to declare three days of national mourning and announce immediate measures to improve road safety.

The accident, the deadliest in the West African country in recent years, happened on the night of Saturday to Sunday at around 03:00 (local time; 05:00 Greek time) near the town of Kafrin, about 250 kilometers southeast of the capital Dakar , the fire department and local authorities said.

The government published last Sunday evening a new account of the accident, in the Sikilo community, which spoke of 39 dead, 53 injured who have been admitted and are being treated in hospitals and 42 less injured, who were offered care in local health centers.

The two buses were carrying “139 travelers at the time of the accident,” the government said in a press release.

Ten of the injured are in a critical condition, explained President Sal, who went to visit the injured in Kafrin hospital, accompanied by first lady Amadou Ba.

“More than 20 bodies have been identified and will soon be handed over to the families” for their funerals, he added.

The head of state, who declared “three days of national mourning” from today, promised swift action to prevent “tragedies” of this nature from happening again.

“We cannot expose the lives of our fellow citizens to a transport system that defies respect for human life,” Mr Sall said.

Later today his prime minister will convene an inter-ministerial council to consider taking measures on the condition of vehicles, roadworthiness testing, traffic permits and timetables, he listed.

“Scourge”

The mayor of Kafrin, Abdoulaye Saidu So, formerly the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, as well as the prosecutor of the neighboring town of Kaholak, said that the accident was caused by a tire burst on one of the two buses and then they collided head-on.

Opposition leader Usman Sonko, a candidate in the 2024 presidential election, said on Twitter that he was organizing a fundraiser for the victims and their families, while calling on the authorities to give “priority” to insecurity on the roads, which he described as a “scourge with devastating human, social and economic consequences for the country”.

Traffic accidents involving buses are alarmingly common in Africa, due to the lack of vehicle maintenance, poor road conditions, and driving mistakes, as many drivers obtain their diplomas by taking bribes without going to heavy vehicle driving schools.

21 people were killed on Saturday night in an accident involving a bus on the border of Kenya and Uganda, the latter’s police said on Sunday. Most of the victims were Kenyan citizens, but 8 Ugandan nationals were also killed. Another 49 people were injured, according to police.

According to the initial data of the investigation, the driver lost control of the vehicle due to the excessive speed he developed.

The Ugandan government has also announced measures to improve road safety following an increase in road fatalities during the year-end holiday season. According to the authorities in Kampala, in just three days, from December 30 to January 1, 104 traffic accidents were recorded with a total of 35 deaths and 114 injuries.

RES-EMP

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