Egyptian authorities have ordered the arrest of eight individuals, including two drivers and their two assistants, over the tragic collision of two trains that claimed the lives of 18 people last week, the prosecutor’s office announced on Monday.
“The prosecutor general ordered that the two drivers… their two assistants, the guard of a traffic control tower, the head of traffic control in Assiut and two other guards … be remanded in custody,” the prosecutor said in a statement.
The announcement has put the death toll from the fatal train collision at 18, down from the 19 deaths that had been cited by Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed on Saturday and an initially reported 32 by local media and authorities.
In the prosecutor’s statement, it cited that 200 people were wounded, up from 185 cited by Zayed.
The arrests were made after President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi vowed to implement tough punishment against those individuals that would be held responsible for Friday’s crash, which was previously blamed on unidentified passengers who allegedly activated the emergency brakes in one train.
In Friday’s press briefing, Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli told the reporters that the railway network of the Arab country is one of the oldest in Africa and the Middle East, adding that improving it “will take time”.
“Until then accidents like this can happen,” he said, adding that the government’s efforts in upgrading the country’s railway system have been slowed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, delaying Egypt’s deals with foreign firms.
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