23 killed as vehicle ploughs into Mozambique party: police

MAPUTO / Mozambique police said on Monday that a pick-up truck ploughed into a crowd of party-goers at the weekend killing 23 people, many of whom were teenagers.  The speeding vehicle ignored orders from traffic police, hit an obstacle and veered into the local carnival in the working-class Luis Cabral neighbourhood of Maputo in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“The driver was speeding when he did not obey the signal from a traffic police officer,” Maputo police spokesman Orlando Mudumane told reporters in the capital.  “A few metres (yards) later he lost control of the car, crashed into an obstacle and caused the accident.”  The male driver and his passenger were among the dead, with 30 others injured.

“Five victims are still hospitalised in a critical condition,” said Farida Ursi, clinical director of Maputo central hospital.  The accident happened on a highway where the speed limit is 60 kilometres (37 miles) per hour.  Scores of young people were at an all-night party close to the roadside.

“The car turned over and went towards people who were participating in the carnival,” Mudumane said, suggesting the driver may have been drunk.  “We requested an autopsy and as soon as we have results we will share them with the public,” he said.  According to police statistics, an average of 30 people die each week in accidents on Mozambique’s roads.

President Filipe Nyusi offered his condolences. “We condemn the disrespect for traffic rules by drivers and we express our sympathies to the victims of the accident and their families,” he said.

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