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Cargo train derails at Makupa, locals loot wheat

Sunday July 31 2016

MWAKERA MWAJEFA
By MWAKERA MWAJEFA
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LABAN WALLOGA
By LABAN WALLOGA
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A cargo train destined for Uganda derailed off the Makupa Causeway as it left Grain Bulk Handlers Limited causing a commotion as looters descended on the wagons to steal wheat it was transporting.

A police officer keeps vigil at the scene where a cargo derailed at Makupa causeway near Kibarani on July 21, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A police officer keeps vigil at the scene where a cargo derailed at Makupa causeway near Kibarani on July 21, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Police had to be called in to control the looters who were determined to make a kill out of the tragedy.

Two of the 19 wagons fell into the ocean while others were trapped by mangrove trees.

Members of the public using canoes loot wheat from  a derailed cargo train at Makupa on July 31, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Members of the public using canoes loot wheat from a derailed cargo train at Makupa on July 31, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

It was not immediately revealed what led to the accident as Kenya Railways officials at the scene remained tightlipped as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

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However, some locals, on condition of anonymity claimed the poor condition of the rail-lines could be the cause of the incident.

“Just look at this line and you can tell when it was last maintained to hold a train,” said one of the locals.

Members of the public seen looting wheat from a derailed cargo train at Makupa on July 31, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Members of the public seen looting wheat from a derailed cargo train at Makupa on July 31, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Police had a hard time controlling the surging crowd of locals and was at one time forced to shoot in the air to disperse them.

Some used canoes to steal sacks of wheat while others carried on their shoulders as police tried to seal-off the wagons.

A rescue engine was deployed to the scene to help in retrieving the wagons and getting them back on rail.