At least 50 stowaways were killed when a freight train derailed in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo early on Thursday, the latest rail tragedy to strike the vast central African nation.
“Another disaster! Derailing at 3am (01:00 GMT) in Tanganyika (province) near Mayibaridi. Provisional toll: 50 dead and several injured,” the minister for humanitarian action, Steve Mbikayi, said in a tweet.
Witnesses at the scene and local media feared more than a hundred people could have been killed.
Victor Umba, the union head of the national rail company SNCC, said the freight train was travelling from the town of Nyunzu to the town of Niemba when two carriages fell on their sides.
“Those who died in this derailment were stowaways. It is impossible for the SNCC to provide any kind of toll,” Umba told AFP.
He added that the SNCC’s chief was in the provincial capital of Kalemie trying to find a way to raise the carriages.
“It seems that many stowaways are trapped under the derailed carriages”.