On Friday 21st October, Cameroon was shocked with a ghastly train accident that claimed scores of lives and left hundred wounded. However, the actual number of those died and wounded is not yet known. Cameroon has no official system to get through with this. In fact, as we write, there is haphazard going on, families are still searching their love ones. There is no area or official register where people can declare lost or dead of their love ones. Still, the Biya government has put the death toll to over 90 and those wounded to over 600. This figure is highly contested by survivors and residents in the ESEKA area who took part in the earliest rescue mission. These persons claimed the actual number of those died is much more than what the government is reporting.
Patrick Goldman, a Journalists and survivor who spoke to a Cameroon Journal reporter in the Cameroons claimed that before he left the scene at 6pm on the day of the accident, the death toll, going by his personal count had risen to close to 400. The Journalist reiterated that the Biya’s government continues in his usual habit of lies telling as they did after Lake Nyos, Nsam fire disasters. The journalist said that a train which was overloaded with over 1000 persons and running with an unusual speed could not have consumed only 90 death as the government claims considering the fact that parts of the train fell into a valley. Goldman insisted that his counted corpses were five times more than official figures given by the Government– close to 400 deaths he said.
One Oliver Leke, a Yaounde resident and a survivor who spoke to Cameroon Journal concurred the account of the journalist and claimed that children alone who died were more than 100. As for Oliver, he shoved away corpses that were piled over him so as to move out.
The Government recently created a commission of inquiry to be headed by the PM. Opposition politicians have condemned such an inquiry made up of only members of the executive arm as partial and corrupt. The Cameroon Journalist Trade Union will be launching their own independent investigation into the ESEKA incident. We are hoping the opposition can come together on this and get something for these dead Cameroonians.
BaretaNews understand the government is trying to hide the extent of this unfortunate incident but the government should respect the lives of these Cameroonians. This is not a time to play politics with the lives of Cameroonians. The government should be able to develop a mechanism wherein the names of the dead should be known, documented and immortalized. A national monument with all of their names inscribed on it in Cameroun should be on the horizon. Their families left behind should be compensated and attended to and all those wounded should be provided the best affordable care. This is what a responsible government will be doing.
Biya Must Sit Up
God is still saying something.