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Benin bus crash kills more than a dozen

 At least 22 people have been killed and nearly two dozen injured when a public bus crashed into a truck in Benin.

The president’s director of communications posted on Facebook that first responders had immediately been dispatched to the scene of the crash that occurred near the town of Dassa-Zoume, in the centre of the West African country, on Sunday.

“In this painful circumstance, the government expresses its sympathy to the whole nation and presents its deepest condolences to all the grieving families. This tragedy has once again reminded us that safety on our roads remains a constant challenge and urges us to take even stronger actions for a more effective safety of people and goods,” the director said on Monday. 

A crisis unit has been set up for relatives to get information.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. An investigation has been opened into the circumstances of the crash, said authorities.

Images and videos of the crash shared on social chat groups show the bus in flames and a charred body on the ground as one man tried to put out the fire with a jerry can of water.

Narrow roads

About 21 people had burn injuries to varying degrees, said Benjamin Hounkpatin, the health minister during an interview with state television on Sunday. Speaking outside the hospital in Cotonou where the injured had been taken, he said they were alerted about the crash early evening Sunday and that health staff were doing everything they could.

“For the people who were burned we can’t guarantee what will happen to them,” said Hounkpatin.

Transport accidents occur in Benin due to narrow roads in parts of the country, however, the death toll is not usually so high, according to locals. 

In July, three people were killed in a crash between a bus and a car near the town of Parakou, according to local media.

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