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Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Heads are rolling at the railway authority

It’s the axe (kind of) for National Railway Authority (NRA) Chairman Ashraf Raslan and other officials, as Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir looks to institute a shake-up in the rail sector after five train accidents in less than a month left at least 30 people dead, according to a ministry statement. Mostafa Abdel Latif will replace Raslan as chairman of the authority.

Raslan hasn’t been entirely axed from the railway sector and is now the ministerial advisor for railway affairs. His removal from the National Railway Authority is meant to be part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the railway system and its management, in a bid to overhaul the country’s ailing railway system and prevent further accidents, the statement says. The shake-up also includes the appointment of a new vice chairman for the authority.

The shakeup comes as the push for accountability picked up steam: The Prosecutor General has ordered the detention of 23 defendants pending investigations into this week’s Qalyubia train crash, according to a statement. Four railway officials were detained on Monday as part of the investigation. Raslan and Abdel Latif were also summoned for interrogation, but have not been ordered detained. Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa joined in the chorus calling for accountability, saying that “harsh measures” must be taken against whoever was responsible for the railway accident (watch, runtime: 4:00) and suggested that each train should undergo safety inspections before leaving the station (watch, runtime: 5:00).

The death toll for the accident was also revised upwards to 23 and the number of injuries to 139 after the Health Ministry initially reported 11 fatalities and 98 people injured, the statement read.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE RAILWAYS? We have a deep dive in this morning’s Hardhat.

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