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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

More than 30 killed as DR Congo train carrying fuel derails 

The tanker train, which the victims were riding illegally, was running between Lubumbashi and Luena

Up to 33 people were feared dead on Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a freight train carrying fuel plunged into a ravine.

The UN's radio Okapi said there had been 33 fatalities with an unknown number of others injured or burned in the accident in the province of Lualaba.

Jean-Marie Tshizainga, the minister of mines of Lualaba province, gave a toll of eight dead and several injured.

"The toll could be significantly higher," he told AFP.

The train, in which the victims were travelling illegally, was running between the country's second city of Lubumbashi and Luena.

The train was transporting 13 oil tankers and derailed while climbing a slope near the station of Lubudi. It fell into a ravine and the tankers caught fire, radio Okapi said.

"It's a freight train that derailed and it wasn't supposed to be carrying passengers. If there were people on board, we consider them to be illegal travellers," said Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba, a senior official from the national railway company.

The region has suffered several deadly train accidents. In 2014, a freight train derailed, killing 74 people and injuring 163, according to officials, but the Red Cross said as many as 200 corpses had been buried.

A month later, the national news agency reported 136 deaths.

In July 1987, near the Zambia border, 150 people died when a train crashed into a truck.