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99 dead, hundreds injured in Sierra Leone fuel tanker blast



Diesel tanker explodes in Lagos

At least 99 people have been confirmed dead with more than 100 seriously injured after a fuel tanker exploded following a collision in the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, Deputy Health Minister Amara Jambai said.

The explosion took place late on Friday after a vehicle struck the tanker in Wellington, a suburb just to the east of Freetown.

Jambai added that the “injured casualties are being treated in hospitals and clinics across the capital.

Most of the victims included people who had flocked to collect fuel leaking from the ruptured vehicle, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayor of the port city, said in a post on Facebook, adding that several badly burned victims lay on the streets as flames blazed through shops and houses nearby.

“The video and photo footage making rounds on social media are harrowing,” Aki-Sawyerr said.

READ ALSO: Nigerian govt to partner Sierra Leone on road safety –SGF

The extent of damage to property was as yet unknown, the mayor said, adding that police and her deputy were at the scene to assist disaster management officials.

“We’ve got so many casualties, burned corpses,” said Brima Bureh Sesay, head of the National Disaster Management Agency, in a video from the scene shared online. “It’s a terrible, terrible accident.”

Speaking on the disaster, President Julius Maada Bio, who was in Scotland attending the United Nations climate talks at the time, wrote on Twitter expressing his sadness at the “horrendous loss of life”.

“My profound sympathies with families who have lost loved ones and those who have been maimed as a result. My Government will do everything to support affected families,” he wrote.

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