Senegalese leader urges traffic ‘behavioral change’

President Macky Sall rushed to Kaffrine, central Senegal on Sunday evening to inquire about the situation of those injured after…

President Macky Sall rushed to Kaffrine, central Senegal on Sunday evening to inquire about the situation of those injured after the tragic road accident that killed 39 people hours earlier.Accompanied by a strong entourage, the Senegalese leader, dressed in white, spent several minutes in the regional hospital Thierno Birahim Ndao of the town. 

The Level 2 public health facility inaugurated in May 2021 is where most of the victims of the collision between two buses near the town of Gniby, in the region of Kaffrine, around 3 a.m. on Sunday were admitted.

“Senegal has been hit by a tragedy following this traffic accident which caused the death of 39 people. I must immediately correct the figures that have been circulating since this morning. In reality, the bodies transferred after the accident found two other bodies that were in the hospital morgue and had nothing to do with the accident,” said President Sall.

He said there were also “one 100 more injured, including ten who are in a very critical situation.”

“As I speak, more than 20 bodies have been identified and will soon be returned to their families. The difficulty will remain the identification of the other bodies. This will be done as we go along. And the state will provide all the support and solidarity to the bereaved families but also to the injured and their families to alleviate their suffering” President Sall added, dropping a hint about the decisions he will take later on Monday, January 9 at the end of the inter-ministerial council with stakeholders in the Senegalese transport sector.

Behavioral change

“Of course, this accident shows us that we need to break with past practices. There are measures to take and they will be taken to put an end to this situation. We cannot expose the lives of our compatriots in a transport system that disregards respect for human life. We have lost many young people in this accident. Tomorrow, Prime Minister Amadou Ba will convene a cabinet meeting involving the transport sector,” he said.

According to the Senegalese leader, the objective of the meeting is “to see the measures to be taken on the state of vehicles, on the technical control, on the conditions for the establishment of driving licenses, on the conditions of issuance of certificates of technical inspection and on the transport schedules for what concerns the buses of passenger transport.”

“We will take all the measures that this situation requires, because, otherwise, we will experience the same tragedy in the future. The wear of tires, the wear of vehicles, and the transformation of vehicles in violation of safety standards must stop in our country,” Macky Sall emphasised.

He also praised the “dedication” of government officials and the “spontaneous support” of people of goodwill in caring for the injured and identifying those who died in the accident, considered the deadliest in Senegal in recent years.

Meanwhile reacting on Twitter, several personalities, such as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed their “sincere condolences” and “deep empathy” to the families of the victims of the tragic road accident in Kaffrine while wishing a “speedy recovery to those injured.”