Congo: Train Crash : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Thu Jan 11, 6:50 am

Congo Train Crash

Two trains collided today in the Congo Republic, killing around 50 people and injuring about 100 others. The accident happened on a rail line that recently reopened after rebels damaged tracks along the railroad two years ago. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

-- Rachel Gibson (, January 11, 2001



Thursday January 11 11:22 AM ET At Least 50 Killed in Congo Republic Train Crash

By Christian Tsoumou

BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) - At least 50 people were killed, many of them burned to death, when two trains collided on the recently reopened railway line between the Congo Republic capital Brazzaville and the sea, state radio said on Thursday.

The radio said rescuers continued to hunt through the wreck at the station at Mvougounti, around 45 miles east of the port city of Pointe-Noire, where the trains collided on Wednesday.

Many of the casualties died from burns after fuel being transported by passengers caught fire in the crash, the radio said. At least 100 people were injured and taken to hospitals in Pointe-Noire and the central town of Dolisie.

Officials from Pointe-Noire had already been sent to begin an inquiry at Mvougounti, which was the site of Congo's worst rail accident in 1992 when 112 people died after a similar collision.

Freight traffic on the line resumed after a break of two years in August 2000 following repairs to track and rolling stock damaged by rebels who had remained active after the end of a 1997 civil war in the central African country.

A peace deal was signed at the end of 1999, allowing repairs to go ahead with the help of engineers from France's SNCF state railway.

The reopening of the line was marked by a special mass intended to bless the railway and exorcise evil spirits, and the first designated passenger train in more than two years traveled the full length of the line last week.

People had continued to use freight trains to travel since a lack of coaches meant a regular passenger service could not be provided.

Railway officials in Brazzaville said people were in the habit of riding on the dangerous open wagons that carry timber down to the coast and return empty to the capital.

The railway is the main link between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, which is the country's main port and the center of Congo's oil industry.

``It's terrible that this accident should come just after the railway had started working again,'' said one railway official in Brazzaville, who could give no further details of the collision.

-- Rachel Gibson (, January 11, 2001.

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