Sierra Leone blast

A least 91 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in the capital of Sierra Leone on Friday when a fuel tanker exploded following a collision.

A media report quoted the manager of the central state morgue in Freetown as saying that it had received 91 bodies following the explosion.

However, the government is yet to confirm the death toll.

The report quoted deputy health minister Amara Jambai as saying that more than 100 injured people have been admitted to the hospitals and clinics for treatment across the capital.

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Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the mayor of the port city, in a post on Facebook initially said the victims included people who flocked to collect fuel leaking from the ruptured vehicle.

However, the post was later edited to remove the reference.

In a video from the scene shared online, Brima Bureh Sesay, the head of the National Disaster Management Agency, said, “It’s a terrible, terrible accident.”

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Pictures shared widely online showed several badly burned victims lying on the streets as the fire blazed through shops and houses nearby.

Accidents with tanker trucks in Sub-Saharan Africa previously killed scores of people who gathered at the site to collect spilled fuel and were hit by blasts.

In 2019, a tanker explosion in eastern Tanzania killed 85 people while around 50 people were killed in a similar disaster in Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018.

President Julius Maada Bio tweeted: “My profound sympathies with families who have lost loved ones and those who have been maimed as a result,”, adding, “My Government will do everything to support affected families.”

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