Scores killed in South Sudan fuel tanker explosion

 

Around 100 people have died in South Sudan when a truck carrying petrol exploded, officials have told Al Jazeera.

The blast on Thursday in Maridi town is believed to have happened when a crowd gathered to collect fuel from an oil truck that had veered off the road.

The truck exploded, leaving scores dead and around 50 people seriously injured, according to Charles Kisagna, the minister of information in Western Equatoria.

“We don’t have medical equipment and these people may not survive because we do not have the facilities to treat the highly burnt people,” Kisagna told the Reuters news agency, adding the truck had been travelling from the capital Juba to the Western Equatoria area.

The Associated Press news agency cited varied figures on how many people had died from different officials.

Varying death tolls

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said 85 people had died, while provincial governor, Patrick Raphael Zamoi, gave a much higher death toll of 176.

Such incidents have happened before in the east African region where fuel tankers often have to travel long distances along potholed roads and pass through poor communities.

Layal Horanieh, spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, said the aid group had sent two burn kits to Maridi, each with enough equipment to treat at least 50 patients.

In June 2013, 29 people were killed and scores injured in an explosion after a collision between a fuel truck and a passenger van in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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