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Like in Nigeria last week, train accident kills 7 in DR Congo. How safe really is train in Africa?

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At least seven people were killed in another train accident in Africa. This time in Lualaba province in the south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The accident, which is the second of such in two weeks occurred in the village of Buyofwe, Lualaba province on Saturday. In mid-March, a train came off the tracks in the same village, killing at least 75 people and injuring 125, according to the official toll.

provincial minister of the Interior, Deoda Kapenda, told newsmen that “7 died and 14 seriously injured” in the unfortunate incident.

“A team is on its way to the accident site. The death toll could rise as many stowaways are trapped under the lying wagons”. Kapenda added.

The National Railway Company of Congo (SNCC) said the freight train was made up of eight wagons. It was leaving Tenke in Lualaba province for Kananga in the Kasai region. The accident took place in the village of Buyofwe, located about 200 km from Kolwezi, the capital of Lualaba province.

Although the train is widely believed to be the safest mode of transportation across the world, recent attacks and train-related accidents across Africa should be a cause for concern for all. Just last week, a train was attacked by terrorists in Nigeria at least 8 people were killed and hundreds still missing. Thus, the question of state capacity and infrastructural development is raised. In DR Congo, for instance, train derailments are often because of the lack of passenger trains or passable roads, passengers often use freight trains that should only convey goods to travel long distances.

 

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Sudan recalls Ambassador from Addis Ababa after accusing Ethiopia of executing soldiers

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Sudan has recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia after accusing the Ethiopian army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian who had been held in captivity.

The Sudanese military had said on Sunday that the Ethiopian soldiers had executed the captives and displayed their bodies in public while negotiations were ongoing for their release, promising that there would be “an appropriate response” to the execution.

“It is an act that contravenes all laws and customs of war and international humanitarian law, the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a citizen who were their captives.

“This treacherous act will not pass without a response,” the Sudanese military said.

The Ethiopian government however, denied complicity by its military in the killing of the Sudanese soldiers, blaming the Sudanese forces for crossing into its territory and provoking a clash.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa, issued a statement expressing regret over the incident but said Ethiopia has been misrepresented.

“The Government of Ethiopia categorically rejects the misrepresentation of these facts by the Sudanese defense forces that unjustly put the blame on Ethiopia, while it was the Sudanese army unit that crossed (over) the Ethiopian border, provoking the incident.”

But in an announcement late Monday, Sudan said it would recall its envoy from Addis Ababa as well as summon the Ethiopian ambassador from Khartoum.

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Uganda’s Government changes position, invites striking art teachers for negotiations

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The Ugandan government has made a turn on its decision to sack all arts teachers involved in the industrial action.

The change in position comes barely days after the government threatened to dismiss the teachers. Minister Raphael Magyezi had revealed that the government had reached a final position to have Arts striking teachers sacked if they do not get back to class.

The government backed down and invited the leaders of the tutors’ union for negotiations to end the ongoing strike that has paralysed learning in public schools for two weeks now.

Art teachers across Uganda downed tools last week, threatening to throw the country’s education sector into yet another crisis, a few months after schools came out of two years of a shutdown that kept thousands of learners at home.

The general secretary of the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union, Mr Aron Mugaiga, had advised the leadership of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) to encourage their art counterparts to return to class.

“I urge members to go back and teach because if they continue with the industrial action, the lost time will never be recovered when the government affects their pay enhancement. I believe the doors for negotiations are still open,” Mr Mugaiga said.

The ongoing strike is just five months after Uganda reopened schools following a two-year closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has already caused outrage as more than eight million children in public schools miss out on learning.

Over 300 percent pay increment was allocated for science teachers in Uganda’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year, which starts in July but the allocation does not include arts and humanities teachers.

It is not uncommon to see prolonged industrial actions in Africa. Elsewhere in the continent, Nigeria, University teachers have been on strike since February over salary related agreement the academic union had with the government in 2009.

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