By Frederic Tendeng
13 people died Monday afternoon in a collision between a bus and a ‘Ndiaga N’diaye’ public transport vehicle fully loaded with pilgrims heading for the religious city of Touba, to attend the 2010 annual Magal of Touba. The accident occurred at about 15 hours GMT in Ouror, a village located at about twenty miles from the town of Gossas. A large crowd stormed Elhadj Ibrahima Niass Hospital with shocked relatives mourning their dead ones, while others went to enquire about the whereabouts of relatives who left earlier on for the city. Many of the victims were natives of Koutal, a village near Kaolack. 11 of the 13 victims, among which were some children, died on the spot due to the impact of the collision. A fire-fighter Commander, who intervened at the scene of the accident, confirmed that 31 other people were seriously injured. He added that all the victims have been evacuated to Kaolack’s Elhadj Ibrahima Niass General Hospital. The commander went on to say that the bus that collided with the Ndiaga N’diaye car was a Mauritania registered vehicle. The Governor of Kaolack region, Amadou Sy, visited the victims who have been admitted in his capital city’s main hospital. The annual Magal of Touba commemorates the return from exile in 1902 of Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, the founder of the Mourid Muslim community, predominantly in Senegal and some part of Gambia. However, the event has proven to be one of the deadliest ventures magal_rush_hourfor careless drivers. Over a million of Mourid pilgrims boarding overloaded cars, buses and trucks, rush to Touba each year, mostly during the last 24 hours preceding the event, therefore causing huge traffic jams on the roads that converge to the city of Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba. Commissioner Papa Mafall Ndiaye, director of Senegal’s public security service, revealed that in 2009 about 1500 security officers were deployed on the ground to ensure that would be pilgrims respect primary safety prerequisites. During the same 2009 event, 97 people were arrested for various offenses: theft, carelessness or state of drunkenness while driving, use of marijuana, etc. 26 cases of road accidents were recorded in the sector-Touba Mbacke, causing at least nine deaths.