Mubarak Promises Not To Hide Truth About Train Fire; Resignation of Transport Minister, Railway Authority Chief Accepted
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak vowed not to hide the truth about the train fire, which killed 373 people, after accepting the resignation of Transport Minister Ibrahim al-Demeri amid widespread public anger.
"We will permit no attempt to hide the truth or even a part of the truth because the lives of our citizens are more important than our own," Mubarak said in a pre-recorded televised address Friday.
Saying he had ordered "a comprehensive review of the security systems in all fields of transport," Mubarak added "nothing is more important for us than the preservation of life, which is why we have worked, as soon as we were informed of the accident, to discover the causes.
"We have asked for the opening of an inquiry to determine clearly who was responsible and punish all those whose negligence is proved."
Earlier the television reported that Mubarak had accepted the resignation of Demeri, and Prime Minister Atef Ubeid that of railway authority chief Ahmed al-Sherif.
Most of those who died in the tragedy were burned to death, when a packed southbound train from Cairo caught fire early Wednesday.
Al-Ahram daily said Friday the fire was probably started by an electrical short-circuit. Quoting a police source close to the inquiry, the paper added the theory that a cooking stove in one of the carriages had sparked the blaze was virtually ruled out.
Ubeid had advanced that theory while on the scene of the disaster Wednesday. "The fire was started by cookers used by passengers during the journey," the PM said.
This remark has been ridiculed by the opposition press, according to AFP.
"How can the prime minister be so sure that there was no deficiency or breakdown without proceding to an inquiry," asked the daily Al-Wafd, identified with the opposition party of the same name. (Albawaba.com)
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