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48 die in Togo bus crash, 15 injured

By Erick Kaglan, for CNN
updated 8:32 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bus heading to Lome collides with truck
  • Survivors say bus mistook truck for a motorbike
  • Truck had only one headlight, they say

Lome, Togo (CNN) -- Forty-eight people, including 15 Burkina Faso nationals and a Nigerian, died Tuesday after a bus crash in Togo, officials in the West African nation said. Fifteen others were severely injured.

The accident happened before dawn 108 miles (175 kilometers) north of Lome as a bus carrying passengers to Lome collided with a truck, according to a government statement read on state TV Tuesday evening. A minibus was also involved in the crash.

Survivors said the driver of the full-size bus mistook the truck for a motorbike because the truck had only one headlight.

Togo President Faure Gnassingbe expressed his compassion to the families of the bereaved and dispatched a couple of ministers to the scene.

About 300 people have died in road accidents in Togo since January, officials said. More than 3,000 people lost their lives and more than 37,000 were injured on the West African nation's roads in the past four years, with a record 753 people killed in 2012.

Causes include the bad state of roads, vehicles that have mostly secondhand engines, speed, failure to use seat belts or wear helmets, and driving without license.

Road accidents have become a major cause of disabilities in Togo in the past two decades, health officials say.

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