By Ndi Samson, October 27, 2016
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – The death toll in last Fridays’ train incident in Eseka according to government sources has risen to over 90 with over 600 injured. But survivors and immediate residents who took part in rescuing victims at the scene have told The Cameroon Journal that the Cameroon gov’t is covering-up the real figures of the dead from the incident.
Patrick Goldman, a Journalists and survivor recounted to our reporter that before he left the scene at 6pm that Friday, the death toll, going by his personal count had risen to close to 400.
He said the government is telling one of those lies it did after the Lake Nyos, Nsam disasters by intentionally reducing the number of deaths. “Can you imagine that a runs at 300km/hour, a train which loaded over 1000 persons, which is really on high speed and derails and falls in a valley and you are talking of only 80 deaths? I think we need to wake up, these are things that have nothing to do with what I saw.” Goldman said.
Goldman insisted his counted corpses were five times more than official figures given by gov’t – close to 400 deaths he said.
Goldman revealed that after the incident, gov’t officials including Ministers immediately locked up themselves at Eseka stadium where they discussed how to handle the situation and the numbers to release – numbers that should not present the gov’t in a position of embarrassment.
Another survivor of the incident, one Oliver Leke, a Yaounde resident who was heading to Douala when the fatal accident occurred, concurred the account of Goldman. He told The Cameroon Journal that the heap of dead victims piled up only at the scene was more than 400. Children alone, he said, were over one hundred. And the number here doesn’t include victims who died later in medical care.
He recounted how for him, immersed in the muddy waters where the train lost control, he had to force his way out by shoving away corpses over him to find his way out.
Goldman said government’s lies are more than a catastrophe. Cameroonian authorities have become experts in lies telling he said.
The question being widely asked now is who the principal cause of the tragic incident is .Accusing fingers are pointing at Transport Minister, Edgar Alain MEBE NGO’O. He had on national media, CRTV revealed that he instructed CAMRAIL after the road split between Douala and Yaoundé, to take special measures to make sure that Cameroonians get to their destinations. In the Interview on Friday October 21, NGO’O said, “Due to the gravity of the situation at hand, I have prescribed that CAMRAIL authorities take special measures and make sure that they increase capacity of the train.”
But after the 8 more Coaches were added to existing 9 without additional Locomotive, the consequence was enormous, the train which could not be easily controlled by a single Locomotive derailed. When RFI interviewed the Transport minister on the matter he refuted and spinned his previous statement that he asked CAMRAIL to increase the train wagons. “The decision to increase the coaches was taken by CAMRAIL authorities, it is not the role of the Minister to validate technical report and I think it is not the time to apportion blame.” He said.
Critics are calling for the minister to resign and apologize for making such misleading statements.