5-10 people were killed and 50 injured when an open truck with 57 Frelimo supporters came off the road on a hill near Songo, Tete, this afternoon, Sunday 22 September. The people were packed into the back of a small lorry and were going home from a rally with President, and Frelimo presidential candidate, Filipe Nyusi in Songo. The people were returning the 150 km to Daque in Mágoe district, Tete.
Songo is high up near the Cahora Bassa dam. The return journey involves a steep down hill with seven curves, known locally as Mbonga. On the first of the seven curves, the truck came off the road, throwing the passengers down the hillside.
Victims were rescued by firefighters of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Company (HCB) and taken to Songo Rural Hospital. No comment so far from the hospital or the police, so the death toll is only an estimate from survivors and rescuers.
This is the second Nyusi rally with deaths. Ten people were killed in a crush getting out of a Nyusi rally in Nampula on 11 September, when the presidential guard shut the gates after Nyusi left and would not let people leave and a crush developed.
But most fatalities come from road accidents. Mozambique is the 10th worse country in the world, with 32 road deaths per 100,000 population. Just today, the Pubic Integrity Centre (CIP), publishers of this election newsletter, also published a research report showing how people buy drivers licences for $800 with no lessons or test. Available on http://bit.ly/CIP-drive
Also, there is no control over packed trucks carrying passengers with no seats or safety equipment. And no police would have stopped a lorry of Frelimo supporters going to a Nyusi rally. Even if the police did stop the packed lorry, it would often only be to collect a bribe.