A damaged tanker truck exploded in the town of Morogoro, around 120 miles west of Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam, leaving at least 62 people dead after being burned alive. At least 70 more suffered serious burns and other related injuries. This incident is among the most deadly of its kind in Tanzanian history. People dying in explosions after attempting to steal fuel are not uncommon. Most will sell the stolen fuel to motorists for a small profit. According to Daniel Ngogo, a citizen who witnessed the explosion, civilians who weren’t stealing fuel were also killed, due to the business of the area.
Tanzanian government spokesman Hassan Abbasi stated that the news of the deaths were “received with sadness” and sent condolences to the families of the victims. Witnesses stated that a crowd had gathered around the tanker after it was involved in an accident earlier that morning. Awareness is limited among many people about the danger from explosions of damaged fuel tankers, stated Henry Bantu, a road safety expert who runs the Tanzania-based Safe Speed Foundation. He also said that local leaders need to do more to educate people on the risks of siphoning fuel.