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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Tanzania rail crash driver detained
Train wreckage
The passenger train hit a goods train
Police in Tanzania are interrogating the driver whose train crashed on Monday, killing 281 people.

A police spokesman said that the driver, God Chiwelesa, and a mechanic were being questioned by criminal investigations officers.

Rescue workers
Rescue workers have stopped looking for more bodies
The crash near the capital, Dodoma, was Tanzania's worst-ever train disaster.

The train, which was carrying more than 1,000 passengers, is believed to have lost power before it rolled backwards down a slope, colliding with a goods train before derailing.

"What I know is he is being interrogated, he must explain because he was driving the train," said Laurian Tibaisana, police spokesman.

On Thursday, the bodies of 88 victims were buried after a mass ceremony in Dodoma.

Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye presided over the ceremony, along with religious leaders and weeping relatives.

Queuing outside Jamhuri stadium
Relatives filed past the coffins to identify the dead
"Some of the bodies had so much decomposed, prompting the government and relatives to decide to bury them in Dodoma," he said.

Rescue efforts at the site have come to an end after workers pulled the last bodies from two mangled coaches overnight.

Relatives have identified and taken away 208 bodies for private burial.

President Benjamin Mkapa has promised an official inquiry to determine what caused the crash.

Visiting the scene, the president said the disaster could not have been averted, but some passengers have accused the driver of negligence.

A technical problem is believed to have caused the accident.

Some sources say there was a power or engine failure, others speak of faulty brakes.

See also:

26 Jun 02 | Africa
25 Jun 02 | Africa
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08 Jan 02 | Business
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
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