26 injured in crash on Enugu-Abakaliki road

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…At least 15 killed in air strikes in east Libya -sources***

No fewer than 26 persons sustained various degrees of injury in a multiple road accident at the Idodo end of the Enugu-Abakaliki Expressway on Sunday.

It was gathered that the accident involved two commercial buses.

Eyewitnesses said the driver of one of the buses – an 18-seater bus with number plate, ABL 633 YU, en route from Abakaliki to Enugu – tried to escape from a police checkpoint at the boundary between Enugu and Ebonyi states.

The bus was said to have run into a Hiace bus marked, 452 YP, coming from Enugu to Abakaliki.

When our correspondent visited the scene, the two damaged vehicles were seen, just as sympathisers were busy rescuing trapped victims.

An eyewitness, Reverend Father Stephen Nnorun of Catholic Diocese of Manfi in the Republic of Cameroon, said the cause of the accident was lack of patience on the part of the driver, who refused to stop at the police checkpoint.

He said, “More than 26 persons were injured and there was no vehicle to convey them to a hospital. The police later stopped a few vehicles to help the victims.”

Two other witnesses, Chinonso Okeke and Ifeanyi Igwe, blamed the police for mounting the checkpoint, which they said was responsible for the accident.

Igwe said, “One of the bus drivers was trying to dodge the policemen who tried to stop him, not knowing that there was a vehicle approaching with speed.”

A Federal Road Safety Special Marshal, Mr Max Nnaji , who assisted in the rescue effort, said the accident was caused by the checkpoint mounted by the police.

He, however, urged motorists to always apply caution while plying highways.

He said, “I attribute that accident to the recklessness of the driver; and secondly, to the way and manner the policemen mounted a roadblock on the highway.”

Officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps were also on the  ground and assisted in rescuing the injured persons.

The Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ebere Amaraizu, could not be reached on the telephone.

In the meantime, at least 15 people including women and children were killed in air strikes on the eastern Libyan city of Derna late on Monday, a medical source and a resident said.

Derna has long been under siege by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which has occasionally carried out air strikes against the city.

Military officials declined to comment on the strikes.

A resident said the attacks on Monday continued for around an hour and hit the Dahr al-Hamar district in Derna’s south and Al Fatayeh, a hilly area about 20 km from the city.

At least 17 people were wounded, according to the medical source, who said all the victims appeared to be civilians.

Derna is a coastal city about 265 km west of the Egyptian border.

It is controlled by a coalition of Islamist militants and former rebels from Libya’s 2011 uprising known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC).

Islamic State established a foothold in Derna in late 2014, but was driven out by the DMSC in 2015.

Egypt, which backs the LNA, has also carried out strikes on Derna, including in May when it said it was targeting militants linked to an attack in southern Egypt.

Additional report from Punch