It might have been a bright Sunday morning elsewhere in Kapchorwa yesterday, but the world of residents of Kongowo Village, Kongowo Parish in Kapsinda sub-county was a complete contrast.A mother, her two children and a number of neighbours who had, after breakfast, gone to till their garden, narrated that at around 10am, the driver of a truck belonging to Roofings Limited that was carrying construction materials lost control of his machine and roared downhill, killing the driver, his two turn men and a child on spot.
This reporter gathered information that the truck, had gone to deliver a consignment of construction materials to VS HYDRO construction company in Kaserem, about 30 kilometers to Kapchorwa Town.
But unfamiliar with the area, the drivers missed the site and proceeded to Kapchorwa Town where they were advised to make a return trip.
It is on their return that the driver failed to manoeuvre the steep 200 metre slope in the infamous black spot in Towei, just after Sipi.
The 13-year-old who was killed was identified as Davis Cherop, a pupil of Amukul Primary School. A girl identified as Sarah Chebet, who was also digging, was rushed to hospital in critical condition but died hours later.
“We were digging when I heard a lorry rumbling downhill from Sipi. When I looked in that direction, I realised the truck was coming towards us. I jolted and asked everyone that we run away and we scattered in different directions,” said Priscilla Chikamoko, a survivor and mother of two, while speaking to Daily Monitor and Elgon Radio, a local station.
“When I realised that I was not with any of the children and the other two ladies, I just stood, motionless. One of the children was blown towards my side by the heavy wind from the truck, and the other lied down and was lucky the lorry did not run over him. Unfortunately, Cherop ran in the direction the lorry was taking and he was killed,” she added. Cherop, her neighbour’s child, had gone to join them in the garden.
Chikamoko’s daughter, only identified as Chelangat, said: “When my mother alerted us about the truck, I left the hoe I was holding and looked uphill. I saw the truck flying. I was so terrified and I followed my mother as we ran through a bush”.
Cherop’s mother, Topista Cheptoek, said she was seated outside her compound when the truck rammed into her mud-and-wattle house, destroying it completely. Her husband, James Cheptum, was not at home when the incident happened.
“I heard a screeching of metals. Metal bars were falling off the truck which had already overturned. I saw my sister crying that her children had been knocked, so, I joined the search. I went through the wreckage and found the body of Davis trapped in the ruins. His intestines had spilled out,” said Cherop’s uncle who only identified himself as Godfrey.
Assistant Inspector of police Alfred Nkwasibwe, the officer in charge traffic Kapchorwa, said they were still investigating the matter.
“The driver lost control and rammed through a building. We are yet to identify the details of the two adults. It might have been a mechanical issue. On this hill, drivers are cautioned to engage a low gear. Drivers should be careful with the hilly Kapchorwa terrain,” he said.
We were unable to speak to VS HYDRO by press time. The company is building dams and bridges in Sebei.
When contacted, Roofings Limited handlers promised to get back to us, but by press time they had not.