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 SITEKI – At least five people are reported to have suffered burn-like wounds after coming into contact with a poisonous substance which fell from an overturned truck.

Reports reaching this publication are to the effect that the wounded people came into contact with the poisonous substance after allegedly looting the truck. Apparently, they were oblivious of what was actually in the bags, as most of it did not necessarily spill onto the road.

The truck was travelling from Durban, South Africa and was destined for neighbouring Mozambique when it overturned near Lugongolweni, along the Siteki-Mhlumeni public road. According to the police, the truck was loaded with bags of Caustic Soda, a poisonous chemical substance, which is reportedly used for manufacturing certain products such as soap.

A witness said three of the injured people allegedly looted the truck and went away with some bags of the poisonous substance under the impression that it was lime, a soil enhancer that is used by farmers to improve the fertility of the soil.
“One of the men then developed blisters on the hands and the other two men have burn-like wounds on the arms,” said a source who said he spoke to one of the affected people.

One of the men reportedly went to a clinic on Wednesday and was treated and discharged but he could not be reached for comment.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Khulani Mamba, said police do not have the statistics of people who may have come to contact with the poisonous substance. He said immediately after police learned that the substance was poisonous, they did all in their powers to try and prevent people from coming into contact with it.

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