72 Ugandan Soldiers, Family Members Killed in Truck Accident

A truck carrying soldiers and their families overturned in eastern Uganda, killing 72 people, the army spokesman said Monday.

The truck crashed on Sunday after hitting a concrete barrier on the roadside 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of the capital, Kampala, spokesman Maj. Felix Kulayigye said.

"We are trying to determine the cause of the accident," Kulayigye said, adding that it was not clear how many passengers the truck was carrying.

In Uganda, trucks with makeshift benches are the usual means of transport over long distances. Road accidents are common where poor road conditions coupled with badly maintained vehicles make for precarious driving conditions. The police estimate that up to 2,000 people die on Uganda's roads each year.

The soldiers and their families had just left their station at the border with Kenya, the army spokesman said.

The Ugandan army has boosted its troop numbers at the border, following recent clashes with men from Kenya's Pokottribe who have crossed into Uganda to steal livestock. In July, Ugandan soldiers killed eight Pokot men who had crossed into the country and attacked them.

Cattle rustling by nomadic tribes in the semiarid region that encompasses northern Kenya, Uganda, southern Sudanand Ethiopiais common. The raiders have become increasingly lethal as they have acquired modern weapons. Arms have flooded the region following conflicts in Uganda, Sudanand Somalia.