75 dead, 125 injured, according to a new report

A train accident Thursday evening in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo left 75 dead and 125 injured, according to a new report established Sunday by the public rail transport company and released by the Ministry of Communication.

The previous balance sheet established on Saturday reported at least 60 dead, men, women and children, and 52 injured.

Following a visit to the site of the derailment, in the province of Lualaba, the director general of the National Railway Company of Congo (SNCC), Fabien Mutomb, “communicated the official toll of 75 deaths and 125 injured, including 28 with serious trauma referred to specialized medical centers,” the Congolese Ministry of Communication said on Twitter late Sunday.

Mr. Mutomb is expected in Kinshasa on Monday “for other practical arrangements related to the management of damage caused by this tragedy”, added the ministry, which had announced a few hours earlier the visit of the boss of the SNCC, “with the members of the Commission of Inquiry”.

The damaged convoy, made up of 15 wagons, was a freight train, but on board which several hundred stowaways had taken place, Manyonga Ndambo, director in charge of infrastructure at the SNCC, told AFP on Saturday, contacted by telephone from Lubumbashi.

The train came from Luena, in the neighboring province of Haut-Lomami and was heading for the mining town of Tenke.

It derailed Thursday evening at 11:50 p.m. in the village of Buyofwe, about 200 km from Kolwezi, “at a place where there are ravines”, in which 7 of the 15 wagons fell, he added.

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Mr. Ndambo said on Sunday that the track had been cleared since the beginning of the morning but that the damaged wagons still had to be towed.

The reasons for the accident were not specified by the authorities, but the dilapidated state of the rails is probably one of the causes.

Train derailments are frequent in the DRC, as are the sinking of overloaded boats on the country’s lakes and rivers.

Often, in the absence of passenger trains or passable roads, passengers take freight trains to travel long distances.

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