At least 53 people have died in a road accident north of the Zambian capital, Lusaka. Reports suggest that a bus taking passengers from a mining district to the capital collided with an oncoming truck.
The bus, operated by the Zambian Postal Service, was on its way from the Copperbelt mining province to the capital early on Thursday when the accident happened.
Zambian Information Minister Kennedy Sakeni said at least 53 people had died in the crash near the town of Chibombo, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of the capital. A further 22 people were taken to local hospitals.
Sources said 51 on the bus were killed, while the truck driver and his assistant also died.
Zambia's Road Transport and Safety Agency director Zindaba Soko attributed the cause of the accident to speeding. The truck driver is believed to have lost control of his vehicle.
Television footage showed wreckage and bodies strewn along the highways, which links Lusaka with neighboring Tanzania.
In a statement, Zambian President Michael Sata said he had sent condolences to the families affected in the crash. "We pray that the Lord almighty grants the bereaved families comfort and strength during this very painful period," said Sata.
The incident is the worst in the country in recent years. About 1,200 people are killed each year on Zambia's roads, according to official data.
In 2005, 44 children died in a bus accident on a school outing from the northern Luapula province to Lusaka.
rc/pfd (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)