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At least 67 people dead in bus collision

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-16

At least 67 people died in a road collision near Boromo, west of Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou. The bus was going to neighbouring country Ivory Coast when it rammed into a truck carrying sugar and caught fire.

The toll in a road accident in Burkina Faso rose to 67 on Sunday with the discovery of another body, authorities said, warning it could rise further.
   
"We have just discovered another body. The death toll is now at 67," Maiza Compaore, a court prosecutor from Boromo, 167 kilometres (105 miles) west of the capital Ouagadougou, where Saturday's collision between a bus and truck happened, told AFP.
   
The cause of the tragedy, one of west Africa's worst road accidents, were still unclear on Sunday.
   
"Among the wounded there are those with head trauma and they could die at any minute. I'm afraid the number of dead will rise," Lydie Henriette Diallo Aouba, the high commissioner of Bale province where Boromo is located told AFP.
   
In a statement read out on national radio and television the government urged that "this tragedy, which adds to the long list of road accident victims" should urge everybody "to strictly adhere to the rules of the road".
   
"Already the identification of the victims and the search for their families is under way," the government said, while presenting its condolences to the families affected.
   
He said that as well as Burkinabe nationals there were Ivorian nationals aboard the bus, which was registered in Ivory Coast and owned by an Ivorian company Ba Issa Transport. However identification of the bodies was very difficult because the majority was so badly burned.
   
Early indications suggested that the driver of the truck might have fallen asleep at the wheel. Sources close to the investigation also said that the bus, which had 75 seats was overloaded, carrying 92 passengers.
   
Burkina Faso's president Blaise Compaore released a statement from Strasbourg where he is on a visit to express his condolences with the families of the victims and thank the emergency services for their hard work.
   
The authorities said they were setting up a national road safety centre and wanted to pass legislation that would see all buses carrying passenger lists to enable victims to be more easily traced in the even of an accident.
   
Roads in West African countries are notoriously dangerous, especially at night.
   
In May 46 Nigerian soldiers returning from an African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan, were killed in a collision between a petrol tanker and an army convoy.
   
In March 2007 in Guinea 70 people travelling in the back of a truck were killed when the vehicle overturned while crossing a narrow wooden bridge.

Date created : 2008-11-15

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