On an ordinary day, the Kaburengu junction on the busy Eldoret-Malaba highway is usually bustling with activity at the roadside market.
Traders sell tomatoes, onions, green maize, fruits and traditional vegetables to passengers and motorists who stop at the market, next to the Kakamega-Webuye-Eldoret road junction.
As vehicles approach, traders rush from different directions, clutching their goods as they incessantly call out the prices to attract buyers in the vehicles.
While scrambling to sell the goods, traders hardly notice the danger they are exposed to in the event of a road accident.
And life goes on at Kaburengu as matatu drivers make brief stopovers to pick up passengers and drop off others to connect to Kakamega or Webuye town.
The popular roadside market in Kakamega County has gained notoriety as a blackspot in Western Kenya after claiming many lives in grisly road crashes.
The construction of an interchange at Kaburengu to decongest the road that is popular with long-distance truck drivers travelling from Eldoret to the Malaba border crossing and back has not helped matters.
In the latest incident, five family members travelling to Sikhendu in Trans Nzoia County for a dowry ceremony perished at the Kaburengu Bridge after the Toyota Probox they had boarded burst into flames on Saturday.
The accident involved multiple vehicles, including a fuel tanker, a lorry, a saloon car, the Probox and a pickup truck.
The five family members and the driver of the Probox were burnt beyond recognition after the vehicle caught fire.
Those who perished in the accident were identified as Richard Osimbo, his wife Rebecca Osimbo, sister-in-law Rosebella Kefa, their son Martin Olenja and a relative John Atsiaya, and the driver only identified as Vincent.
The stretch of road from Chimoi hills to the Kaburengu Bridge that marks the boundary between Kakamega and Bungoma has become a killer stretch, claiming several lives in horrendous road crashes.
Truck drivers and motorists descending the steep slope from Chimoi towards Kaburengu are accused of free-wheeling their vehicles and they end up losing control as they approach the interchange, leading to nasty accidents.
On August 24, 2020, eight people were crushed to death at Kaburengu after a truck rammed a 14-seater matatu that had stopped to pick up passengers at the blackspot. The truck was transporting building materials and ploughed into traders at Kaburengu when the driver lost control of the speeding vehicle.
Thirteen people suffered serious injuries in the accident.
On December 22, 2018 a fuel tanker hit a 14-seater matatu, killing 12 passengers at the same spot. The driver of the matatu had stopped to pick up passengers when the tanker emerged from the Chimoi direction and slammed into the stationary vehicle.
A March 5, 2014 accident in which four pupils from Chimoi Primary School and two other people died left residents in shock and pain.
The pupils were approaching the school gate as they headed home for lunch when a fuel tanker suddenly hit a tractor on the road. The tractor overturned and crushed the pupils to death.
The accident has remained etched in the memories of parents, teachers and pupils at the school, with an enrolment of 790.
The chairman of Kaburengu market traders Joseph Juma Sindani, said the government needs to come up with measures to minimise accidents on the busy highway.
“We have had very many people losing lives in this area even with the available flyover at Kaburengu,” he said.
He said the design of the flyover might be partly to blame.
The traders have asked Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to designate a market site away from the road.
“Last year in December we lost several people and women who were selling groceries here. When Governor Oparanya visited the scene of the accident, he promised to resettle the traders away from the road but that is yet to happen,” Mr Sindani said.
Motorists have complained about a gang that targets trucks transporting goods. The armed gangsters are reported to be operating at Chimoi, Lwandeti and Nabuyole on the busy road.
Bungoma East traffic boss Idris Halkaalno asked drivers approaching Kaburengu from Chimoi not to speed.
He attributed the high number of accidents at Kaburengu to reckless driving.
“Kaburengu has been listed as a blackspot and I ask drivers and traders to be careful while operating there,” he said.
Residents urged religious leaders to hold prayers and cleanse the section of the road to end the road carnage.
Joshua Nyasimi, the northern corridor transit patrol unit head in the region, complained that the gang, which operates on motor bikes, robs truckers at night.
The gang ambushes the drivers at Kipkareni, Mwamba, Chimoi and near the Nzoia River.
Mr Nyasimi said security officers had been mobilised to patrol the highway at night.