Tanzania mourns 64 killed in fuel tanker blast

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Tanzania was in mourning Sunday, preparing to bury the dead after 64 people perished when a crashed fuel tanker exploded as crowds rushed to syphon off leaking petrol .

President John Magufuli declared a period of mourning through Monday following the deadly blast near the town of Morogoro , west of Dar es Salaam.

He will be represented at the funerals by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, an official statement said .

The burials will start Sunday afternoon, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Jenista Mhagama announced during the morning after relatives identified the dead .

The latest in a series of similar disasters in Africa left 64 dead and 70 injured, said Morogoro governor Stephen Kebwe.

Thirty -nine seriously hurt patients had been taken to hospital in Dar es Salaam while the others were being treated in Morogoro , 200 kilometres (125 miles ) west of the economic capital of Tanzania .

Footage from the scene showed the truck engulfed in flames and huge clouds of black smoke , with charred bodies .

The burnt – out remains of motorcycle taxis lie scattered on the ground among scorched trees .

A video posted on social media showed dozens of people carrying yellow jerricans around the truck .

President Magufuli called Saturday for people to stop the dangerous practice of stealing fuel in such a way , a common event in many poor parts of Africa .

Magufuli issued a statement saying he was “ very shocked ” by the looting of fuel from damaged vehicles .

“ 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 .

Last month, 45 people were killed and more than 100 injured in central Nigeria when a petrol tanker crashed and then exploded as people tried to take the fuel.

Among the deadliest such disasters , 292 people lost their lives in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in July 2010 , and in September 2015 at least 203 people died the South Sudan town of Maridi .

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