By SYLVIA MWEETWA, CHUSA SICHONE and NAKUBIANA MUMBUNA –
FIVE people yesterday died on the spot while 11 others are in hospital nursing serious injuries after a Lusaka-bound bus careered off the road and overturned on the Great North Road in Chibombo.
The latest accident on what has become the most dreaded road in Zambia happened almost at the same spot where the Post Bus killed more than 50 people after it overturned last year.
The tragedy also happens when the country marks the first anniversary of one of the worst road traffic accidents, which occured in Chibombo on February 7, 2013.
The bus, registration number AHB 720 belonging to CV Bus Services, careered off the road due to speeding, according to the police.
Among the dead were two men and two women as well as a minor while police are looking for the driver who has since run away.
Central Province Police chief Standwell Lungu said the 11 injured victims are currently admitted to Liteta District Hospital, among them, eight women, two men and a baby.
“The accident happened between 02 and 03:00 hours yesterday at Mukalashi area before John Chinena market when the bus careered off the road,” Mr Lungu said.
Some survivors of the accident said they were travelling from Mpulungu to Lusaka when the accident happened and accused the driver of speeding.
“I was about to doze off when I heard a bang and people were screaming, ‘we are dying, we are dying’ before the bus went off the road,” said one of the survivors admitted to the hospital.
Some passengers were trapped in the damaged bus and the Ministry of Local Government had provided necessary equipment to assist the passengers trapped in the wreckage.
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In a related development, a Zambia police traffic officer on Friday escaped lynching from irate traders from Lusaka town centre when his attempt to impound a minibus for breaching traffic rules led to a pedestrian being knocked down on Freedom Way.
The windscreen of the traffic vehicle where the bus driver was bundled was shattered by the angry mob.
It all started from the junction of Freedom Way and Malasha Road at midmorning when the traffic officer spotted the bus laden with a few passengers trying to pick other passengers from an undesignated place.
The officer demanded the keys from the bus driver who resisted by speeding off and a chase ensued but the minibus bashed into a pedestrian, injuring him in the process.
Meanwhile, a train-laden with goods derailed on Friday afternoon blocking traffic from both sides in Kapiri Mposhi District as it tried to cross to the newly -constructed rail line in a bid to give way to another train coming from Copperbelt.
Instead, the train went off the line and blocked the road near Kapiri Glass, forcing a traffic jam of more than 200 metres on both sides of the Great North Road.
In another incident, police spokesperson Charity Munganga-Chanda assured that the three officers and two neighbourhood watch members in Mazabuka who allegedly tortured a woman would be brought to book if found wanting.
Ms Chanda said police officers were not allowed to torture suspects, adding that should investigations establish that the three officers tortured the woman, they would go through the due process of the law.
The woman was admitted to the hospital after she was allegedly tortured on suspicion of stealing a radio.