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About 30 killed when train derails, catches fire in Congo

KINSHASA- About 30 people were killed and more than two dozen injured when a train derailed then caught fire in Democratic Republic of Congo, a provincial governor said on Monday.

Reuters

The freight train was traveling from the southern copper and cobalt mining hub of Lubumbashi to Luena, in Lualaba province, on Sunday when it left the tracks and tumbled into a ravine near the town of Buyofwe.

“There’s major damage because the tanker cars caught fire,” Lualaba’s governor Richard Muyej told Reuters. “Around 30 dead and 26 wounded were transferred to the hospital in Lubudi, 25 km (16 miles) from the scene of the accident.”

The train had taken on a number of passengers before the accident, and Muyej said the death toll could rise further. Eleven of the train’s 13 cars caught fire following the derailment.

Officials from Congo’s national railway company, the SNCC, were investigating the cause of the crash, which was not immediately known.

Rail accidents are relatively common in Congo due to aging, poorly maintained infrastructure and lax enforcement of safety standards.

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