- Title: Mourners pray for Cameroon rail crash victims
- Date: 24th October 2016
- Summary: WOMAN UNDER UMBRELLA AS MASS GOES ON
- Embargoed: 8th November 2016 17:57
- Keywords: Cameroon Paul Biya rail crash train crash Yaounde Eseke mass
- Location: ESEKA, CAMEROON
- City: ESEKA, CAMEROON
- Country: Cameroon
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00855D8K07
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Mourners attended a prayer service on Monday (October 24) at the site of a rail crash near the town of Eseka, in the southwest of the country.
Cameroon declared a national day of mourning after at least 75 people were killed in the crash on Friday (October 21).
The packed passenger train carrying more than 1,400 people between the capital Yaounde and the central African country's port city of Douala derailed causing carriages to flip over at high speed.
On Sunday (October 23), the government appealed for additional blood donations to assist with the treatment of some 600 people who suffered injuries.
Witnesses said that before the crash, extra carriages had been added to the train to accommodate exceptionally high demand for the service, due partly to the collapse of a portion of the main road linking the two cities after heavy rain.
It was not clear if that had played a role in the accident.
Train operator Camrail, a unit of French industrial group Bollore, said on Sunday it had received permission from the command post managing the lines before commencing its journey.
Technicians from the firm have been made to help police with their enquiries and psychological support is being offered to victims, the firm added.
Eseka resident Tonye Ngan said he wanted to see action taken immediately to stop a repeat of the accident.
Another train derailed and fell into a ravine in 2009 in Yaounde.
"The state of Cameroon has shares in Camrail, it's not totally owned by Bollore. So the state needs to think about the social side of this," he said.
"If we keep coming together to pray without resolving the problem, are we just waiting for another derailment here and for the carriages to fall into the ravine again?"
Another Eseka resident, Missone Ruben, accused the government of trying to cover up the extent of the damage and number of casualties.
"The declared estimates for the number of casualties are really dishonest. Because if our country cannot tell the truth to everyone and goes on lying to us, lying to the population, what kind of government do we have?" he said.
Cameroon's President Paul Biya pledged on Sunday to investigate the causes of the crash.
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