No fewer than 38 girls on Friday, August 28, 2015 died while 20 others sustained serious injures following car accident that occurred in Swaziland on their way to the traditional Reed Dance ceremony where King Mswati III would choose a new wife.
The unfortunate incident happened when their open truck rammed into a car on the road between the tiny kingdom’s two main cities, Mbabane and Manzini, reports Times of Swaziland.
Swaziland Solidarity Network spokesman, Lucky Lukhele, said: “A total of 38 young girls have been pronounced dead, with more than 20 others seriously injured.
“The girls were in an open truck which hit a sedan car stopped on the road.”
The Swaziland Solidarity Network s a pro-democracy activist that preaches democracy in the landlocked kingdom within South Africa.
The 2015 Reed Dance scheduled for Monday, August 31, 2015 is a beauty pageant that attracts several young from the kingdom who parade about topless before the polygamist king, who can select one of them as a new wife.
Mswati, has ruled Swaziland as an absolute monarch since his father’s death in 1982 and he chose his 14th wife at the celebration in 2013.
Speaking on the tragedy, King Mswati, stressed the girls’ deaths were a “tragedy in the nation”.
He said: “I would like to assure the parents who have lost their loved ones that the nation will support them through and through.
“Also those in hospitals, should the need arise for further treatment they will be taken to other hospitals to ensure no further loss of life.”
Police confirmed there had been “fatalities” but declined to specify the toll.
The police spokesman Khulekani Mamba said: “We won’t be giving out any information because the maidens were on royal duty, so there are certain protocols to be followed before such information can be divulged to the public.”
Swaziland media gave varying tolls, while the government newspaper, The Observer, reported that hundreds of injuries were sustained at the crash.
in the meantime, news of the accident has not been broadcast on public television and journalists were blocked from photographing the crash scene, a local journalist said.