On Monday, the Ministry of Communication and Media of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reported that the death toll from the derailment of a freight train last Friday has risen to 75.
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The ministry said, via Twitter, there are 75 dead and 125 injured, including 28 with serious injuries who had to be referred to specialized medical centers.
Initially it was reported that there were 60 fatalities in the accident, which occurred about ten kilometers from the city of Lubudi, Lualaba province, in the south of the country.
The President of the DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, lamented the tragedy in a communication via Twitter and sent his condolences to the families of the victims.
The train was covering the stretch between the cities of Mwene-Ditu (Lomani province) and Lubumbashi (head of Upper Katanga), t was made up of 15 wagons, seven of which fell into ravines on the sides of the railway track.The train was carrying 113 tons of goods.
The Ministry of Communication and Media announced that the derailment was due to a "sudden traction cut which caused the wagons to fall into a ravine".
In a statement, the National Railway Company (SNCC) stated that the passengers had boarded the freight train illegaly. These allegations have promted civil society organizations to reject this version and emphasised that residents are forced into this type of practice due to the lack of transportation in the area.
The president of the Upper Katanga Civil Society Framework of Concertation, Ghislain Kalwa Chulu, has demanded that a thorough investigation be carried out and that those responsible be punished in an exemplary manner. However, press reports state that the age and poor conditions of the tracks usually cause the majority of railway accidents in the African country.