At least 33 killed as DRC train car­ry­ing fuel de­rails

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

LUBUMBASHI — Up to 33 peo­ple were feared dead Sun­day in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo af­ter a freight train car­ry­ing fuel plunged into a ravine.

The UN’s ra­dio Okapi said there had been 33 fa­tal­i­ties with an un­known num­ber of oth­ers in­jured or burned in the ac­ci­dent in the prov­ince of Lual­aba.

Jean-Marie Tshizainga, the min­is­ter of mines of Lual­aba prov­ince gave a toll of eight dead and sev­eral oth­ers in­jured. “The toll could be sig­nif­i­cantly higher,” he said. The train, in which the vic­tims were trav­el­ling il­le­gally, was run­ning be­tween the coun­try’s sec­ond city of Lubumbashi and Luena.

The train was trans­port­ing 13 oil tankers and de­railed while climb­ing a slope near the sta­tion of Lubudi. It fell into a ravine and the tankers caught fire, ra­dio Okapi said.

“It’s a freight train that de­railed and it wasn’t sup­posed to be car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers. If there were peo­ple on board, we con­sider them to be il­le­gal trav­ellers,” said Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba, a se­nior of­fi­cial from the na­tional rail­way com­pany.

The re­gion has wit­nessed sev­eral deadly train ac­ci­dents. In 2014, a freight train de­railed killing 74 peo­ple and in­jured 163, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials but the Red Cross said up to 200 corpses had been buried.

The na­tional news agency a month later re­ported 136 deaths.

An­other train ac­ci­dent in July 1987 near the Zam­bian bor­der killed 150 peo­ple af­ter crash­ing into a truck. — AFP

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