45 Christians killed in bus accident on way to Easter meeting in South Africa


Political leaders across Africa are offering prayers and condolences after nearly four dozen Christians were killed on their way to an annual Easter gathering.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement that 45 people lost their lives when a bus transporting them from Botswana to the town of Moria in South Africa's Limpopo Province crashed while “traveling on the R518 road near Mokopane, Limpopo” on Thursday.

The South African Department of Transport said in a statement on X Thursday that the bus was transporting 46 people, with all but one of them losing their lives.

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“It is believed that the driver lost control, colliding with barriers on the bridge, causing the bus to cross the bridge and hit the ground, where it caught fire,” the department noted. South Africa's Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, expressed his “heartfelt condolences to the families affected by the tragic bus accident,” adding, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.”

A statement published by the Limpopo Department of Transport and Community Safety elaborated on the impact of the crash, identifying the sole survivor as an 8-year-old girl, noting that “some bodies were burned beyond recognition, others trapped within the debris and others scattered on. the scene.” The bus fell 50 meters, equivalent to 164 feet, from a bridge before catching fire.

The Easter weekend service the passengers were traveling to is the “largest Christian gathering in the country during Easter”, according to the South African publication. The Daily Vox. The event is held in Zion City Moria, which is the seat of the African-based Zion Christian Church. According to the news outlet, “Rough estimates estimate that between 3 million and 5 million pilgrims visit Moria for the Easter pilgrimage.”

The Botswana Democratic Party published a statement on behalf of Mokgweetsi EK Maswisi, the president of Botswana and party leader, offering “deepest condolences to the [Zion Christian Church] members and their families affected by the heartbreaking bus accident.”

The South African Police Service INTERPOL Office of National Central Office confirmed Friday that all the passengers on the bus were citizens of Botswana.

The police agency also reported that by Friday, bodies belonging to 34 of the 46 passengers had been recovered, but only nine could be identified. The 8-year-old girl, who survived the accident, is receiving treatment for her injuries at a hospital.

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha released a statement vowing to “prioritize safety and responsible driving practices to prevent such devastating accidents from occurring in the future.” He affirmed that “the scenic routes of Limpopo should be paths of joy and connection, not places of tragedy and loss.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims, both in Botswana and South Africa, as they navigate through this unimaginable loss and grief,” he added. “I extend my deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to all affected by this tragedy. May they find strength, comfort and solace at this difficult time.”



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