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At least 52 killed when truck loses control, crashes at Kenya highway junction

People mill around and search through the aftermath of a traffic accident at Londiani Junction area along the Kericho-Nakuru Highway in Kericho County, Kenya, on Saturday. At least 52 people died and 35 were hospitalized in the incident. Photo by EPA-EFE/STR
People mill around and search through the aftermath of a traffic accident at Londiani Junction area along the Kericho-Nakuru Highway in Kericho County, Kenya, on Saturday. At least 52 people died and 35 were hospitalized in the incident. Photo by EPA-EFE/STR

July 1 (UPI) -- At least 52 people are dead after a truck lost control at a highway junction in Kenya's western Rift Valley, slamming into pedestrians and parked vehicles, authorities said Saturday.

In addition to the dozens killed, 35 others are receiving treatment in several hospitals near the scene of the accident at Londiani Junction, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murokomen told national broadcaster KBC.

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Londiani police say the accident happened early Friday evening when a truck traveling along the Kericho-Nakuru Highway about 130 miles northwest of Nairobi veered off the the road, striking four "matatu" minibuses, two other trucks, a personal car and a full-sized bus.

As the truck careened through the junction, it plowed through pedestrians, business people as well as the other vehicles before coming to a stop.

Witnesses told police the driver of the truck lost control while trying to avoid hitting a bus that had stopped in the traffic lane due to mechanical problems.

"The country mourns with the families who have lost loved ones in a horrific road accident in Londiani, Kericho County," Kenyan President William Ruto wrote in a Tweet. "It is distressing that some of the fatalities are young people with a promising future and business people who were on their daily chores."

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The Kenyan leader said the country is praying for "the speedy recovery of all survivors; you are in our thoughts. We urge motorists to be extra cautious on roads, especially now when we are experiencing heavy rainfall."

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on Saturday ordered local police departments across the country to step up enforcement of traffic rules in the wake of the accident.

"The fatal road accident at Londiani Junction in Kericho County this Friday evening is a tragedy that marks a dark end to the month of June 2023," he said in a statement issued to media outlets.

"Police officers across the country are directed to enforce traffic rules firmly and apprehend all offenders flouting traffic rules, including but not limited to those driving defective and unroadworthy motor vehicles," he said.

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