Tanzania: Tanker explosion victims buried in mass funeral

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania has held a mass funeral for people who died when an overturned fuel tanker exploded on Saturday.

Officials have said people were trying to siphon fuel from the vehicle on a main road in the Morogoro region when it exploded, killing 71.

Ahead of the funeral, hundreds of relatives visited the hospital to try to identify their dead family members, but many were burnt beyond recognition.

This is the latest in a series of similar disasters across Africa, and Tanzania's President John Magufuli has pleaded people to stop risking their lives by siphoning fuel from broken-down tankers.

There are vehicles that carry dangerous fuel oil, as in this case in Morogoro, there are others that carry toxic chemicals or explosives, let's stop this practice, please, he said.

Magufuli declared three days of mourning.

The incident occurred in Morogoro region, about 200 km west of the port city of Dar es Salaam, the country's commercial capital.

The city of Morogoro is on a major route for transporting cargo and fuel from the port.

Local Police Chief Willbrod Mtafungwa said many of those killed were motorbike taxi drivers.

Last month at least 45 people were killed when a crashed fuel tanker exploded in Nigeria's northern Benue state.

Nearly 80 people died in May in a similar incident near the airport of Niger's capital Niamey.

Occasionally such disasters have led to a much higher death toll. In 2010 292 people were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and five years later 203 died in South Sudan.

Source: NAM News Network