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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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South African serial rapist gets four life imprisonment terms

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A South African serial rapist and killer, Philani Justice Nkosi, has been sentenced to four life imprisonment terms by a Mpumalanga High Court for rape and murder.

The court also sentenced the 35-year-old to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of murdering one of his victims who recognised him.

Nkosi was sentenced on Friday after the court found him guilty of one count of murder, three counts of rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, who expressed satisfaction with the sentence, said Nkosi committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 in Bhuga Trust and Halfway Trust in KaBokweni.

“In one incident which stands out, the accused attacked a 12-year-old victim while she was on the way to the local shop. He dragged her to the nearby bush, raped and strangled her to death,” Nyuswa said.

“He also raped another woman in March 2016, stabbed and robbed her of cash.

“The accused continued with his crime spree until December 2018 when he raped an adult woman who was on her way home from work.

“The matter was reported to the police, and the accused was subsequently arrested and linked to other crimes through DNA,” Nyuswa said.

Nkosi who pleaded not guilty to the crimes, claimed the two rape survivors were prostitutes and that the deceased was his girlfriend.

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Tanzanian court sentences 11 people to death for killing South African conservationist

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A Tanzanian High Court has sentenced 11 people to death after they were found guilty of killing a South African conservationist, Wayne Lotter, who was murdered in Dar es Salaam in 2017.

The convicts include nine Tanzanians and two citizens of neighbouring Burundi.

The victim was a renowned anti-poaching activist who was singled out by the convicts for disrupting their illegal poaching activities, according to prosecutors while testifying in court on Friday.

State prosecutors told Judge Leila Mgonya that the 51-year-old Lotter who was based in Tanzania, was a founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO which worked to stop the poaching of elephants and trafficking of ivory in the East African country.

He was shot dead in Dar es Salaam when the taxi he was travelling in was ambushed and though the exact motive for his killing is still unknown, his colleagues believe he was singled out for his work on protecting elephants, local media reports.

While handing down the death sentences, Judge Mgonya said there was compelling evidence that linked the 11 to the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder on which they were charged

“Some of the suspects, in their statements recorded by police officers, confessed to have taken part in the conspiracy meetings and in killing. The evidence provided was strong enough to convict them,” the judge said.

Tanzania is one of the worst hit African countries in terms of elephant poaching, with a data released early this year noting that more than 66,000 elephants have been lost in the last 10 years due to the activities of illegal poachers.

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