MBANZA-NGUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo - At least 31 people are dead and many others were injured after a bus crashed and burst into fire in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.
The tragedy took place in the city of Mbanza-Ngungu in the western part of the country around 1:00am on Sunday.
"President Felix Tshisekedi, who was invited to attend the enthronement of the Emperor of Japan, has decided to cancel this trip as a result of this accident," Vital Kamerhe, Chief of Staff of the country's president said in a statement.
"At least 31 people are dead so far, and eighteen people are wounded. The driver lost control and the bus overturned and caught fire," the country's Humanitarian Affairs Minister Steve Mbikayi said Monday.
The Red Cross also verified the casualty numbers. "The current toll is 31 dead. Eighteen others have third-degree burns," Red Cross spokesman David Nsiala.
"We are continuing the work of identifying the bodies," said Nsiala, who runs the Red Cross in Mbanza-Ngungu territory southwest of Kinshasa.
The bus had left Lufu and was making its way to Kinshasa when its brakes failed and the driver lost control, Didier Nsimba, deputy administrator of Mbanza-Ngungu territory, told AFP.
Didier Nsimba, an administrative official of Mbanza-Ngungu city, said the cause of the bus crashing is believed that have been the brakes failing. occurred as a result of brake failure. He confirmed the bus had burst into flames after the crash, according to the UN-sponsored Radio Okapi.
Traffic incidents in the Democratic Republic of Congo are common as many of the highways and roads are not roadworthy, and motor vehicles are old and poorly maintained.
Last month, a bus crash, also in the western part of the country, claimed twenty-five lives.
(Photo credit: Congo Synthese).