The police are yet to arrest the bus driver involved in the Wednesday fatal accident that claimed seven lives and left nine others injured at Namayonjo Village, Nakasongola District, on the Kampala-Gulu highway.
The road crash brings the number of people killed at the same spot to 11, including the four killed on February 3, when a Masindi bound Link Bus overturned, injuring more than 40 passengers.
The officer in-charge of Nakasongola Central Police Station, Mr Christopher Ssendijja, on Wednesday confirmed to the Daily Monitor that the search for the Roblyn Bus driver was ongoing.
“He is supposed to give the police investigating team some vital information since he was the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the fatal accident. The police have contacted his bosses to avail him to us,” Mr Ssendijja said on Wednesday.
Mr Patrick Lugonvu, the chairperson of Namayonjo Village, said the section on the highway has become a death trap.
“We have witnessed more than five fatal accidents at this spot since 2018. I have at least witnessed three accidents at this very spot,” he said.
“On Wednesday morning while in my house, I heard a loud bang and possibly thought it was a bullet. When I rushed out of the house, I heard wails as the victims of the accident called for help,” Mr Lugonvu added.
“I quickly called police as I mobilised fellow residents to help rescue people still trapped in the wreckage. Government must do something about this black spot. We are losing lives each day,” he said.
The traffic directorate spokesperson, Mr Charles Ssebambulidde, confirmed the accident.
Two people earlier counted to be among the injured died before reaching hospital. They are Mathew Ochola, a teacher at Jinja College, who died on his way to Bombo Military Hospital, and Stella Namono.
Police identified other deceased persons as Johnson Akena, Suzan Okello, Rose Atoo and Brian Birakwate, including a mechanic whose identity was yet to be established. Those injured persons includes Wilfred Oyirot,50, Christen Komugisha, 26, Solomon Obalimo,28, Moses Eliu,27, and Gift Tumusiime.
Mr Alfred Job Ojangole, a survivor of the fatal accident, claimed the driver of the bus was speeding.
“We were heading to Kitgum District from Kampala City when our bus rammed into a parked truck. I believe that the driver failed to control the bus after realising that he was ramming into a stationary lorry. It took about 25 minutes for the police rescue team to arrive at the accident scene,” Ojangole, a resident of Kumi District, claimed.
Authorities speak out
While police blamed the accident on reckless driving, several residents, including district leaders, said the Kampala-Gulu highway section in Nakasongola is narrow.
They say attempts to have road humps fixed at the 13 established black spots are yet to yield any fruit.
Mr Sam Kigula, the Nakasongola District chairperson, said: “We have lost many lives due to the poor design of the road.”
While attending a stakeholders’ regional meeting by Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) in March, Nakasongola District Woman Member of Parliament Margaret Komuhangi tasked Unra officials to explain the criteria used to allocate road humps established at road sections deemed to be black spots.
In response, the Unra central region manager, Mr Jimmy Adwek, said the authority is aware about the 13 black spots on the 275km road stretch from Kawempe to Kafu but was overwhelmed by the requests for road humps from other areas.
“We need to acknowledge the fact that this particular road section was never reconstructed but just renovated in line with the old road design that explains why it remained narrow,” Mr Adwek told the stakeholders at the meeting in March 2019.