People gather at the site where a passenger train derailed injuring at least 100 people, near Banha, Qalyubia province, Egypt, April 18, 2021.
People gather at the site where a passenger train derailed injuring at least 100 people, near Banha, Qalyubia province, Egypt, April 18, 2021.

CAIRO - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el Sissi says that he is setting up a commission to investigate the causes of Sunday's train crash north of Cairo which killed 11 people and wounded nearly 100. The country's transport minister, seen on video inspecting the rails at the site of the accident, says that someone "sabotaged" the track by removing a metal rail and replacing it with a piece of wood.

Egyptian Transport Minister Kamel el Wezir was seen on amateur video inspecting the track where the latest train accident on the country's railroad network took place Sunday. He appears to uncover a piece of wood that he says someone used to replace a metal rail to sabotage a passing train.

Egyptian Minister of Transportation Kamel El-Wazir (C) and several parliamentarians arrived at the scene a few hours after the crash in Qalioubia province, Egypt, April 18, 2021. (Hamada Elrasam/VOA)

Wezir told Arab media that he has officially stepped down and has no problems with being replaced by someone else who is more competent, but that the basic problem with the rail network is still going to exist.

It is the custom in Egypt that ministers resign after serious accidents for which they are deemed responsible. However, many Egyptians who support the government argued on social media that Wezir should remain in place.

Egyptian media showed engineers working to replace about 200 meters of damaged track at the site of Sunday's accident. Modern track laying equipment could be seen installing the new rail section.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sissi, who re-tweeted the transport minister's video inspecting the track, has set up an official commission responsible for investigating the causes of the latest train crash, which is the third in under a month.

Nearly 100 people were injured in a train accident north of Cairo in in Egypt's Qalioubia province, April 18, 2021. (Hamada Elrasam/VOA)

Said Sadek, who teaches political sociology in Cairo, told VOA that it appears likely that someone intentionally caused the accident.

"There were many photos that showed the [track] in the area where the accident took place had been removed and replaced by wooden, instead of iron rails....and it suggested that anybody who did it must have knowledge of [the rail network] and a suspicion is filling social media pointing fingers to the Muslim Brotherhood or [its] foreign sponsors," said Sadek.

Medhat Kamel, a passenger on the derailed train, told VOA that the air-conditioned cars crashed after the train appeared to speed up. He said that "someone pulled him out," but that "everyone next to him was dead." 

 

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