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The crash is reported to have taken place in the Chagang Province on November 15, between Pusong and Hoichon stations. At least 140 military personnel were killed and more than 230 were injured in the accident, including a senior colonel and the head of the political department of a military academy. The Ministry of State Security claimed spies employed by South Korea’s National Intelligence Agency may have been behind the crash, although this hasn’t been confirmed.
However, some local citizens are concerned there may be another reason behind the crash.
People are also believed to be claiming it was “no accident that there was a sudden accident on a stretch of track regularly used by trains going from Pyongyang to Manpo”.
A source told Daily NK: “There were terrible losses in car number 5, which was carrying liaison officers dispatched from above to convey training orders, communication troops who carry military mail every day, and personnel returning to their units prior to the start of winter training in December.
“The fatalities included the commander of the technical department of Chagang Province’s district command, a 56-year-old senior colonel and the head of the political department of Lee Jae Sun Military Academy, a 55-year-old colonel.
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“With many officers and soldiers being killed or injured while on official business, the authorities reportedly consider the derailment “a national matter.”
Chagang Province’s party committee said the was a “grave matter”.
They were also concerned that dictator Kim Jong-un’s train could have been involved in the crash.
They said the crash “could have undermined the security of our revolutionary leadership had North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s train been passing at the time”.
The source added: “People also say it’s possible the patrol guarding the railway removed the spikes out of spite since they have nothing at all to eat, they have a long stretch to track to watch, it’s cold, there’s nobody who wants to do what they do, and even if they try to quit, the authorities won’t let them go.”
But North Koreans are said to have disputed this as they claimed it would be unlikely anybody would deliberately take railway spikes.
The source added that during North Korea’s Arduous March of the 1990s, South Korean intelligence “would give people thousands of dollars if they removed even a single rail spike”.
With coronavirus lockdown and the lack of rations, “there could be people removing spikes and handing them to South Korean intelligence” once again.
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The source said: “Based on the investigation, the train derailed because several spikes were missing from the rails in the section of track managed by Pusong Station.
“With the accident being designated a national incident, those responsible for it – the stationmaster of Pusong Station, and railway patrol personnel and maintenance personnel of the section of track in question – have been detained by the Chagang Province branch of the Ministry of State Security.”
However, some North Koreans hope the authorities will go easy on the station master during the investigation.
Normally he would have been sent to the Ministry of State Security headquarters in Pyongyang for questioning.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, he is being detained locally and investigated by ministry officials sent from Pyongyang.
The results of the investigation are expected to be clearer at the end of the year.
Military personnel and locals are still working at the station to fix the train track and clear the scene.
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