KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — At least 20 people have been killed in two separate motor accidents in Uganda, including an explosion involving a fuel tanker in the country’s west, police said Monday, in incidents highlighting growing road safety concerns in the region.
A fuel tanker exploded Sunday after losing control and ramming two commuter taxis and a car in a western district.
The fire from the tanker sparked “three smaller secondary explosions” of vehicles parked nearby, and several small shops at the scene also caught fire. Nine burned bodies were retrieved from the scene and another was still trapped beneath the truck, a police statement said.
Later on Sunday, according to police, 10 people were killed and four others critically injured when a speeding minivan crashed into a passenger bus on a highway in eastern Uganda.
Lethal traffic accidents frequently happen in the region, where roads are often narrow and potholed. Ugandan police usually blame motor accidents on speeding drivers.
“We strongly condemn the acts of motorists who put the lives of others in danger due to recklessness,” the police statement said. “These two separate but tragic incidents call 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.”
Accidents involving fuel tankers are especially dangerous as often people gather around the damaged vehicles to scoop fuel into plastic cans.
Scores were killed in the Tanzanian town of Morogoro earlier this month when a damaged fuel tanker exploded as people swarmed around it.