At least 20 people have been confirmed dead in a series of accidents that occured on Sunday in different parts of the country.
According to a statement released by Fred Enanga the police spokesperson last evening, several people perished when at around 4pm, at Kyambura Trading centre, in Rubirizi District, a fuel tanker from Mbarara, lost control and rammed into two commuter taxis and a saloon car, before exploding into flames, killing several people instantly.
Three smaller secondary explosions from the parked vehicles followed. The stream of liquid fire from the fuel also burnt about 25 small shops over a stretch of over 30 metres. The firefighting teams from Bushenyi and Kasese responded and prevented the fire from spreading further. The four motor vehicles were severely burnt and damaged.
The joint security teams from the Police and UPDF cordoned off the area and by press time, 9 burnt bodies had been retrieved from the scene and transported to Lugazi Health Centre for further post mortem analysis and DNA profiling. Another body was still trapped beneath the tanker truck and could not be retrieved due to the cover of darkness.
According to Enanga, the scene remained closed overnight and the operation continued early this morning, to search for more bodies, establish the number of victims injured, since they were rushed to different Health facilities and also establish the cause of the accident.
''We urge relatives who could have lost their loved ones to visit the Health centre and avail samples for DNA profiling, better identification and matching of the deceased persons'' he added.
In a separate but tragic incident, 9 people were confirmed dead at the scene in Namutumba District, after a head-on collision between a YY bus registration number UAY 852F and commuter taxi, under registration number UAV 689X that occurred at around 6.40 pm, at Bukonte village, (located 5 kms from Namutumba and 25 kms from Iganga), along the Iganga-Namutumba Highway.
The preliminary facts indicate that the driver to the taxi dangerously overtook another commuter taxi that was also heading towards Namutumba from Iganga. The taxi crashed into the bus in the opposite lane, killing 9 passengers instantly, and injured 4 others critically. The accident also claimed the life of a cyclist, who succumbed to the injuries at a nearby clinic, and further injured two other victims on a bodaboda motorcycle under registration number UDS 126N.
The bodies to the 10 deceased persons were transferred to Iganga Referral Hospital for post mortem examination as well as the 6 injured victim’s better treatment. All the passengers in the bus had no injuries and efforts are already in place to track down the driver who is on the run, to help in our investigations. Our sympathies go out to both the victims and their families in both incidents.
''We strongly condemn the acts of motorists who put the lives of others in danger due to recklessness. These two separate but tragic incidents calls for additional measures by all stakeholders in strengthening our road safety campaigns, with stricter penalties to serve as a deterrent. This is because most of the crash and collision traffic incidents on our roads primarily occur due to bad decisions by drivers'' Enanga says.
Adding that further sensitization and awareness programs by the Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety, are ongoing countrywide, for transport owners and their drivers, for them to know that truck and bus driving, requires enough rest and vehicles in good mechanical condition, for the safety of drivers. The awareness campaign and operations, is also targeting drink and drug driving, speeding, distraction, use of seatbelts and driving permits to help prevent such occurrences
In another incident, one person died last night at Kyabakuza in Masaka after another accident. Police is yet to release details of this tragedy.