A school bus and a regional train have collided in southern France, killing four children and critically injuring seven other people on the bus, the French interior ministry said.
Photos from the scene tweeted by a local television station showed the train derailed and the bus shorn in half.
Nine other people on the school bus and three on the train had less severe injuries.
It happened on a railway crossing in the small village of Millas some nine miles west of Perpignan, close to the border with Spain.
Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer were at the scene along with 70 firefighters, 10 emergency ambulances and four helicopters.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was en route.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “All my thoughts go to the victims of this terrible accident and their families. The government is fully mobilised to give them emergency help.”
France’s SNCF national rail authority said witnesses described the crossing gates as functioning properly at the time the train crashed into the bus.
An SNCF official said the train normally travels at 80km per hour at the location of the crash near Perpignan.
The official said “several witnesses said the barrier was down” at the time of the crash. She said 25 people were on the train at the time and are “totally shocked”.
She said that the crossing is “well-equipped” with flashing lights and the latest technology. She said it would be up to an investigation to determine whether everything functioned properly at the time of the accident this evening.
French authorities say four children have died in a “serious rail accident” in southern France involving a school bus and a regional train.
The Pyrenees-Orientales authority tweeted that the collision occurred this afternoon on a railway crossing at a small town about nine miles west of Perpignan, close to the border with Spain.
Nineteen others are injured.
A transport minister’s called it a ‘terrible accident’.
Emergency services have been deployed to the site of the accident.
Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe
Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.
The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).
The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.
According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.
It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.
“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.
“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”
The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.
Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival
Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.
Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.
But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.
“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.
The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.
Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.
The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.
That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.
Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.
“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.
He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.
“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”
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