Fuel tanker explosion in DR Congo kills 230, injures nearly 200

16:13, July 04, 2010      

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At least 230 people have been killed and nearly 200 others injured after a fuel tanker truck overturned and burst into flames in a blast. The flames engulfed dozens of residences and several crowded makeshift cinemas in a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), officials said Saturday.

The accident took place late Friday in the village of Sange, on the border with Burundi, when the tanker truck from Tanzania burst into fire shortly after it overturned and began to leak oil.

Flames spread to dozens of earthen and straw houses and several flimsy roadside shacks, where scores of villagers were watching World Cup TV coverage.

"People tried to escape but were caught by the fire and reduced to ashes," said Tondo Sahizira, a local teacher.

"When we arrived in Sange at about noon, we were already up to 230 dead. In our presence, three more bodies were added. We are therefore at more than 230 dead and 105 injured," Marcellin Cishambo, Governor of Sud-Kivu province, where the incident took place, said Saturday.

"Our latest numbers are 230 dead and 196 injured," Madnodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the UN mission, told reporters.

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