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Dozens killed in Uganda fuel tanker explosion

Victims are mostly motorcyclists who tried to siphon fuel after tanker crashed into car, say police.

Last Modified: 30 Jun 2013 12:26
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A fuel tanker explosion in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, has killed 29 people and left at least 20 others injured, police have said.

The accident happened on Saturday evening on the outskirts of Kampala after the tanker collided with a car.

According to the semi-independent Daily Monitor newspaper, the fuel spilled all over the tarmac and into the drainage channel.

The newspaper said that relatives of the victims had gathered at Mulago Hospital mortuary to identify bodies.

Visitors were being turned away by police and security officials who said doctors and nurses there had been overwhelmed by the number of casualties from the explosion, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Most of the dead were passenger motorcyclists who had tried to siphon fuel from the tanker.

Musa Ecweru, the Ugandan minister for disaster preparedness, described the incident as an avoidable "calamity," saying it was unfortunate that some people had failed to learn from past mistakes.

"We have always told our people to stay away from trucks that involve inflammable products such as petrol," he said. "We thought they would learn from the lessons of the past."

In 2001, a similar accident happened on a highway from Kampala to the western region, leaving nearly 40 people dead. Nearly all of them were burnt beyond recognition.

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