MAPUTO: At least 73 people were killed and dozens more injured when a tanker truck burst into flames in a village in western Mozambique on Thursday, state-run national radio reported.
“The record of the incident is now 73 years,” announced the State of Radio Mozambique, citing the authorities of Head.
“The incident occurred when citizens tried to take gasoline from a truck” in the village of Caphiridzange in Tete province, near Malawi, the government said in a statement.
The government added that 110 people were injured, some of which were criticized. The children were among the wounded, he said. The precise circumstances of the explosion are unclear.
The authorities were investigating whether the tanker had sold gasoline at the time of the explosion or had been ambushed by residents, the head of the Ministry of Information, Joao Manasses.
A local journalist told AFP that the truck crashed Wednesday and exploded on Thursday afternoon as dozens of people tried to siphon the fuel.
The government “deplores the loss of life … and is currently providing the necessary help to save lives and consoling the families of the victims,” he said. Three ministers were to arrive on Friday to monitor the work of rescuers.
– Generalized poverty, turbulence –
According to the International Monetary Fund, Mozambique is one of the poorest nations in the world and since the end of its 16-year civil war in 1992, its people have suffered a terrible economic crisis.
The government recently raised the price of fuel, after the value of the local currency – called meticale – cast against the dollar.
The South African nation is also experiencing a new political crisis, triggered by the decision of the former rebels in 2013 to return to arms to lobby for a power-sharing deal with the government.
The current unrest has opposed the rebel force RENAMO to government troops in the center and west of the country.
Among the provinces affected by the violence is Tete, where Thursday’s explosion pushed thousands of people to flee the border to Malawi this year.
While many have returned, some 2,500 refugees from Mozambique are still residing in Malawi, according to the UN refugee agency.
Tete province was also hit by another tragedy in January 2015, when 75 people died from intoxication after drinking traditional beer.