The Minister of Transport (Minstrans), Edgard Mebe Ngo’o, created a mini-scandal in his communication on the train accident which occurred in Eseka, on 21 October 2016, leaving over 70 people dead and a further 600 injured. And for good reason, because between his declarations during the 1 P.M. newscast on the national channel CRTV and the ones at 8:30 P.M. also on CRTV, there is a huge contradiction.
In fact, the Mintrans wanting to deny a rumour according to which a train operated by concessionaire Camrail, had been derailed in the early hours of that morning, declared during the 1 P.M. newscast: “The 10:25 A.M. train number 152 coming from Yaoundé and heading to Douala and the 2:45 P.M. train number 153 coming from Douala and going to Yaoundé, were equipped with 8 additional coaches which offered an additional capacity of 680 seats per train. Thus in total 1,336 seats. I instructed Camrail, based on the seriousness of the situation to implement special additional measures to increase the capacity on these trains”.
However, the moment the government member makes this declaration implicating the responsibility of Camrail in the decision to increase the number of carriages on train 152, a derailment actually occurs. Mr Mebe Ngo’o then seems to come back on his own declarations made late that morning. He backtracks during the 8:30 P.M. newscast: “I specify, it was an internal decision taken by Camrail, the State concessionaire in railroad transport, to increase the capacity on the passenger train”. Exactly the opposite of what he said a few hours earlier.