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Five die in accident as NTSA officials flee angry crowd

By Erastus M Mulwa | Published Thu, December 28th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 27th 2017 at 21:31 GMT +3
The scene where an accident occurred at Sachangwan along Nakuru- Eldoret highway involving 13 vehicles on 12 december 2017. [PHOTO: Harun Wathari]

Five people died in an accident involving yet another bus from a fleet that operates in Nairobi's Githurai route.

The 52-seater bus, which operates under a Githurai-based sacco, overturned barely a kilometre from Matuu town on Tuesday evening.

Four people were admitted to hospital with serious injuries.

And officers from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) had to flee from the scene of the accident after a crowd of angry people charged at them. They accused the officers of laxity in addressing rampant impunity among matatu crews.

But NTSA defended its officers over claims that they allowed the overloaded vehicle past a roadblock.

Another operation

In a statement, NTSA insisted their officers were not at the said roadblock on the Matuu-Thika Road, arguing they had relocated to carry out another operation at another location.

Yatta OCPD Edward Changach yesterday said he had to intervene and calm members of the public, who were baying for the blood of the NTSA officers who visited the scene of accident to assist in rescue operation.

“There was fracas at the scene because members of the public did not want to see those people (NTSA) and I had to intervene and advise them to leave the scene for their own safety,” said Mr Changach.

The ill-fated bus, according to the OCPD, had 36 passengers on board at the time of the accident.

“We established that the vehicle had secured a temporary permit to ply the route,” said the OCPD.

A source in Matuu town said the public were annoyed that NTSA officers who had put up a roadblock did nothing to ensure vehicles complied with road safety regulations.

“Those people were busy collecting money from very willing drivers who found it profitable to disregard road safety regulations. That is why people were angry at them,” said the source.

But NTSA said its officers were only called in later to assist police in rescue operation after the crash.

“We are, however, alarmed that the locals in the area attacked the team as they helped the police with the rescue,” read the statement.

Team permitted

It added: “Contrary to media reports that NTSA team permitted an overloaded vehicle to go past a roadblock, we wish to clarify, NTSA team that was in that area had relocated its operation for another location at 1430hrs.”

As at yesterday, the driver of the bus was yet to be arrested as he fled immediately after the crash.

NTSA asserted it would not condone any attacks on its officers and those found culpable would face the full force of the law.

Lower Eastern NTSA regional manager Lawrence Kibaara said his officers were doing everything humanly possible to try to curb the rise in road accidents.