President Paul Biya publishes findings of the Ezeka train Crash and remedies

 

The Secretary general of the Presidency of the Republic issued a press statement on May 23 2017, revealing the findings of the commission of inquiry of the Ezeka train derailment which occurred on October 21 2016. The press statement also names measures to avoid a similar occurence.

The commission of inquiry after 7 months of careful investigation establishes that the rail carrier, CAMRAIL is fully responsible for the inter city train number 152’s crash. The train was said to be on high speed (96km/h) on  steep slopes and sharp bends, a rail section with an extremely low speed ( 40km/h). In addition the train had major defaults including overloading, defective brakes of passenger coaches , and the absence of propper departure inspection in Yaounde. Plus the train driver expressed reservations which were ignored by hierarchy.The commission of inquiry mentioned the need to enhance disaster nanagement services.

In response to the findings, the Head of State has prescribed a review of the concession agreement signed on January 19, 1999 signed beween the State and CAMRAIL, amended in 2005 and 2008, discussions with CAMRAIL towards stronger state presence especially in social aspects and passenger transport,the short term establishment of the railway heritage management company provided for under the said agreement responsible for maintaining the said network as well as implementing railway  modernization and extension projects, and sanctions on officials held responsible for the accident. The President also prescribes that the inquiry report be forwarded to judicial authorities for legal purposes.

As concerns the situation of the accident victims the Head of state has asked that ongoing actions taken by CAMRAIL to compensate families of the deceased and the injured be speedy. On his part President Paul Biya has decided to disburse the sum of one billion CFAF as supplemental assistance to victims. A monument will also be errected in Eseka to remember the tragedy and , the national disaster and risk prevention and management system will be enhanced.

The Eseka train accident, the worst in the history of Cameroon raiway transport left 70 people dead and most of the 1500 on board injured. It followed the collapse of a bridge in Manyai linking Yaounde and Douala. Reason why the train was pushed to overloading to meet the high demand following a halt in road transpor

 

B. Njuh

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