At least 19 people aboard a minibus were killed when a landmine exploded in northern Guinea-Bissau, police said on Saturday.
Another 10 people were injured, several seriously, in the blast on a little-used route 70km north of the capital of Bissau, as the vehicle swerved to avoid water in its path, police and witnesses said.
Three people, including the driver, emerged unscathed.
“The vehicle was overloaded, I was on the roof with some other passengers when we heard a loud boom. The bus was cut in two,” one survivor said.
The blast was so powerful that the bodies of most of the victims were flung across nearby fields, some torn into pieces, he added.
The injured were taken to the country’s largest hospital, with ambulances shuttling to and from the site of the explosion late into the evening.
“There were bodies ripped apart, which shows the violence of the explosion,” a nurse in the hospital’s emergency room said.
An army mine disposal team was sent in to investigate the accident and the type of mine which caused it.
It could date from the country’s struggle for independence from Portugal 40 years ago, military sources told national radio.
Some 4 000 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines were left behind by Portuguese colonial army after the 1961-1974 war of independence, according to the anti-mine action centre, Caami.
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