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By KEMO CHAM
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Sierra Leone has launched investigation into the possible cause of one of the deadliest road accidents in years involving the country’s army.

A government statement Wednesday said the joint police and army investigation would seek to ascertain the cause of the accident which occurred on Monday.

It involved a military truck packed with soldiers and their civilian relatives who were part of a funeral convoy.

The truck, said the government statement, overturned on a hilly part, west of the capital Freetown, after it went out of control.

The travel team was heading for the army war cemetery for the burial of a soldier.

As of Wednesday, 11 people had been officially confirmed dead, with dozens undergoing treatment for injuries.

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Eight of the dead were soldiers, according to a statement issued by the army communication office. It said a total of 81 people, comprising soldiers, their civilian relatives and other road users were confirmed injured as a result of the incident.

Army reports indicated that eight of the victims died on the spot.

The army’s Medical Chief, Lt Col Stephen Sevalie, was quoted saying 13 people had been treated and discharged, while 57 others were still undergoing treatment for both severe and minor injuries.

On the same day, another incident a few metres away involving a police vehicle reportedly claimed several lives.

Sierra Leone’s roads were notorious for deadly accidents.

Some 1,842 deaths were recorded from traffic accidents in 2017, representing 2.25 per cent of total deaths nationwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) data.

Drink driving has been identified as one of the major contributing factors to road accidents in Sierra Leone.

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