10/08/2022

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Energy cable cave in at marketplace kills 26 in Africa

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo: Police in Kinshasa said some 26 people died after they were electrocuted by a falling power cable at a market in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The high-voltage cable snapped and fell onto houses and shoppers in the Matadi-Kibala district on the outskirts of the country’s capital.

Unverified footage posted to social media showed motionless bodies in the aftermath of the incident, though it is not clear what caused the power cable to break.

In a statement, DR Congo’s national electricity company said it believed lightning had struck part of the cable, causing it to fall to the ground. The company sent condolences to the victims’ families.

Local media reported most victims were women working in the market.

Charles Mbutamuntu, spokesman for the Kinshasa provincial government, told the AFP news agency, “The cable snapped and the live end of it fell into a ditch that was filled with water after morning rain.”

The bodies were taken to a morgue and an investigation into the incident was underway, he added.

Prime Minister Sama Lukonde visited the market following the accident.

On Twitter, he described the incident as a “terrible accident,” adding, “I share the immense pain of the families. My thoughts are also with all the injured.”

Several districts of the capital are prone to flooding due to poorly maintained colonial-era drainage systems. A trader said the market often flooded during rain, with workers and shoppers having to wade through water.

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