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11 killed in Nairobi rail accident

At least 11 people were confirmed dead and 34 others seriously injured on Wednesday after a commuter train crashed into a bus and an automobile in the Umoja area of capital Nairobi in Kenya. 'The train rammed into the bus, dragging it several meters and causing deaths and severe injuries,' Railway Police Commandant Kirimi Ringera told Anadolu Agency.
The train, which was traveling from the city center to Dandora Estate on Nairobi's outskirts, hit a bus traversing a railway crossing at Mutindwa Market, located between Umoja and Bururu Buru Estates.

The 29-seat bus also hit an automobile before being dragged along more than 200 meters on the railway track.

Ringera said that the bus had failed to stop as the train approached.

"We are investigating what might have led to the accident," he said.

The area is crowded with makeshift structures built along the railway line, stretching hundreds of kilometers on both sides of the track, impairing the view of both train drivers and motorists.

The Kenya Red Cross Society confirmed that a total of 11 people had died as of 2pm (local time), including at least three people who had succumbed to injuries in hospital.

Seventeen of the injured were admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital, while others were taken to the Mama Lucy Hospital.

Inspector-General of Police David Kimayo said the bus driver, who survived the accident, had been arrested.

"He is to be charged with causing death by dangerous driving. We have launched a crackdown on all public service vehicles," Kimayio tweeted.

Chief Executive of Rift Valley Railways Darlan David, for his part, said investigations would be carried out to determine exactly what had caused the accident.

He said that drivers routinely disregarded rules requiring them to stop at railway crossings.

-Nightmare-

Horrified witnesses said some passengers could be heard screaming as they were dragged down the railway track.

"I was taking my daughter to school and had crossed the Outer Ring Road towards the rail line when I heard a bang," Dandora resident Njoki Mwangi told AA. "And shortly [afterward] we saw the train dragging the bus with people wailing inside."

"I covered my daughter's face and retreated," recounted the eyewitness.

Other residents complained that it was not the first such accident to be seen in the area.

"There have been other accidents here," said witness and resident Esther Nthusi. "We have kept praying that nothing major happens."

"Last month, a man was crushed right there as he crossed, just when the train was coming," she added.

Angry residents have blocked the busy Outer Ring Road and prevented other buses from entering their area. (AA)

By William Oloo
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