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Five detained over Cairo train crash following anger of government railways mismanagement

The crash killed at least 25 people and left at least 47 injured [TNA]

Date of publication: 6 March, 2019

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The latest arrest of five individuals brings the total number of people detained over the crash to 11. Many Egyptians have blamed President Sisi's government for the accident.

Egyptian authorities have arrested another five people over a deadly train crash and explosion last week at Cairo's main railway station, following criticism over the government's handling of the country's railways.

At least 24 people were killed and 50 injured after an unmanned locomotive slamming into a barrier caused a catastrophic train station blaze.

Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek announced the new arrests late Tuesday. It brings the total number of people detained over the crash to 11. They face charges of manslaughter and damaging public property.

The six arrested on Friday were two train conductors, their aides and two other rail workers.

Sadek has said an investigation determined the accident was triggered by a brawl between two conductors which left the train unattended.

Transport Minister Hisham Arafat submitted his resignation just hours after the deadly crash, apparently taking responsibility for the lives lost under his watch.

But many Egyptians instead pointed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's reticence over improving the country's railway networks, rampant government corruption and a sheer lack of care for Egyptian lives.

Train accidents are not uncommon in Egypt, and Egyptians have long complained that the government has failed to maintain the country's heaving transport links, railways and roads.

There were 1,793 train accidents in 2017, according to Egypt's official statistics agency. Rail accidents have dramatically increased in Egypt since 2011, when 489 occurred.

A 2016 crash in Cairo killed 51 people, and a 2018 derailment in Aswan prompted the firing of the chief of the country's railways. Egypt's most catastrophic train accident was in 2002, when 373 people died on the Cairo-Luxor line.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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