Dozens killed in DRC train crash

A train crash in a remote location in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) killed at least 68 people, the United Nations peacekeeping force said on Thursday.

“There are 68 dead and 128 severely wounded,” UN mission spokesperson Kemal Saiki said.

The accident took place late on Wednesday near Benaleka, about 220km north-west of the town of Kananga in Western Kasai province, he said.

“Survivors of the accident have been transported by foot or by bicycle 12km to the nearest hospital,” he said.

The UN peacekeeping force, known by its French acronym Monuc, helped with rescue operations on Thursday.

“It happened last night [Wednesday] at about 11pm. This afternoon we sent a helicopter with doctors, nurses, and local authorities. At the moment, they are on the ground there,” said Alexandre Essone, a Monuc public information officer in Kananga.

“We suspect there still may be people trapped under the wagons.
We need heavy machinery, though, to lift these wagons,” Essone said.

The peacekeeping force, the United Nations’s biggest, is in DRC to help the huge, chaotic country recover from a five-year war that began in 1998, since when an estimated four million people have been killed by violence or related hunger and disease.—Reuters

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