BULAWAYO – Burials were finally held over the weekend for most of the 32 victims of the November 15 West Nicholson bus disaster.

The University of Science and Technology (NUST) positively identified the charred remains of 28 of the 32 victims, allowing grieving families to finally lay their loved ones to rest.

Nyaradzo Funeral Company offered free services to victims without funeral cover.

The United Bulawayo Hospitals, which worked with NUST during the DNA testing exercised, facilitated for the families to hold a joint church service on Saturday before they collected the remains.

“We came in to assist in this national disaster and ensure that the burials are conducted with dignity and respect, especially for those who don’t have funeral cover insurance. This, we feel, is our community responsibility,” said Nyaradzo’s Benson Mukandiwa.

The 32 were burnt to death when a Brooklyn Express bus caught fire just after passing West Nicholson towards Beitbridge on the night of November 15.

At least 27 others were treated for burns, including the bus driver.

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Sithandisiwe Ncube, the chairperson of the Civil Protection Unit for Matabeleland South, said they were happy they could bring closure to the families as she hailed the unity and urgency shown by the various government agencies.

“We have seen a business unusual approach by all stakeholders who have assisted in this sad situation and this has also given comfort and support to bereaved families,” she said.

The Brooklyn Express bus was carrying cross-border shoppers on their way to Musina, South Africa, when it caught fire. The cause of the fire, which quickly spread through the bus, is still under investigation.

The bus had started on its journey in Zvishavane, before picking up more passengers in Filabusi and Gwanda.