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47 dead as buses collide in Zimbabwe

By AFP
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Forty-seven people were killed in Zimbabwe on Wednesday when two buses collided on a road between the capital Harare and the southeastern town of Rusape, police said.

“We confirm 47 people have died in a road traffic accident at the 166-kilometre peg along the Harare-Mutare highway,” police spokesman Paul Nyathi said.

Following the crash, Zimbabwean authorities Thursday said the accident would be declared a national disaster.

According to the state broadcaster, 45 people died on the spot and another one at a hospital in the nearby town of Rusape.

The government said the accident also left 61 people injured.

“The accident occurred at the 166km peg on the Harare-Mutare Road, just after the Rusape tollgate drifting towards Harare,” police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said.

“The accident involved a Bolt Cutter bus that was heading towards Mutare, which collided with a Smart Express bus, which was going to Harare.”

The driver of one of the buses was reportedly trying to overtake a haulage truck and encroached into the lane of the oncoming one, resulting in the accident.

Witnesses said the driver and his assistant survived the crash and fled the scene.

Traffic accidents are common in Zimbabwe, where roads are riddled with potholes due to years of underfunding and neglect, but the highway where the accident occurred had been recently resurfaced.

In June last year, 43 people were killed in a bus crash in the north of the country, along the highway leading to neighbouring Zambia.