Road accident kills 24 in Morocco

Driver said to have lost control of minibus in treacherous area

Ambulances in the Moroccan coastal town of Essaouira in 2017. AFP
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Twenty-four people were killed on Sunday in one of Morocco's worst road accidents, officials confirmed.

The accident occurred when a minibus overturned on a bend en route to a weekly market in the central town of Demnat, authorities said.

An investigation has been launched.

The driver of the minibus is said to have lost control of the vehicle in an area "particularly known for dangerous bends", local media reported, before driving into a 60-metre-deep ravine.

At least a dozen others are said to have been injured.

Crashes are frequent on the roads of Morocco and other North African countries, on which thousands of people are killed annually.

Eleven people, mostly agricultural workers, died when their minibus slammed into a tree after the driver lost control in the rural town of Brachoua in March.

In August last year, 23 people were killed and 36 injured when their bus overturned on a bend east of Casablanca.

An average of 3,500 road deaths and 12,000 injuries are recorded each year in Morocco, according to the National Road Safety Agency, with an average of 10 deaths per day.

The figure last year was about 3,200.

Forty-two people were killed in the nation's worst bus accident in 2012.

Since then, authorities have pledged to halve the road death rate by 2026.

Other countries in the region have similar death rates.

Road accidents are common in Tunisia, where 26 people died after a bus drove off a cliff in 2019, while Libya's roads have ranked among the deadliest in the world.

More than 4,000 road accidents killed 2,500 people nationwide, the Interior Ministry said in its latest data from 2018.

In Egypt, official figures estimate at least 7,000 people were killed in road accidents in 2020.

Updated: August 06, 2023, 5:41 PM