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'Overcrowded' bus crash in Senegal kills 24 people

Dozens killed in bus crash   -  
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Twenty-four people, including four children have died in a bus crash in northern Senegal.

The bus had been coming from a town in the north of the country on 26 July and was reportedly "overcrowded" with 76 people on board; 16 more than the permitted number.

Senegalese Interior Minister, Antoine Félix Abdoulaye Diome, said overcrowding was a serious problem. 

"I'd like to pause for a moment to deplore the fact that there are still too many passengers on public transport vehicles. 

"On the registration document of the vehicle involved in the accident, it is stated that the maximum number of passengers is 60. 

"However, when the victims were counted, it was discovered that there were in fact 76 people."

The injured passengers were evacuated to hospitals in the town of Louga and the city of Saint-Louis.

In January, 19 people were killed and 24 injured in a collision in the same area, near Louga.

The previous week, around 40 people died when a bus crashed in the centre of Senegal.

That tragedy, on January 8, prompted a wave of criticism against authorities over the frequency of accidents on Senegal's roads and the lack of action taken to prevent them.

The government responded by announcing a long list of measures, including a ban on overnight bus journeys. But transport professionals said many of the measures were unrealistic.

Nevertheless, Diome believes action must be taken to save lives.  

"Since the inter-ministerial council in January 2023, there has been a drastic reduction in accidents, as reported by the administrative authorities," he explained.

"But with [Wednesday's] meeting, we have reason to believe that the work is certainly being done, but it will have to continue with much greater firmness on certain measures."

Across many countries in Africa, dilapidated vehicles, reckless driving and corrupt law-enforcement officials all contribute to tragedies on the road.

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