Dozens die in petrol tanker blast in Nigeria

At least 50 people were killed in Nigeria when fuel from a crashed truck that they were siphoning up caught fire, local media reported.

The incident happened on Monday afternoon after a fuel tanker trying to avoid a pothole overturned and fell off the road in Ahumbe village in Benue State, according to a spokesman for the governor.

Nearby shops were also burnt down in the explosion after fuel from the crash spilled on them, officials said.

Fuel tanker accidents are frequent in Nigeria, an oil-producing nation, where crude supplies are often transported by road. Fires and explosions often occur as people try to siphon fuel from pipelines and also following accidents involving fuel tankers on poorly-maintained roads.

Last October 20 cars and four commercial motorcycles were burned when a tanker spilled petroleum on a busy road.

In January, at least eight people were killed in Odukpani, in the southeastern state of Cross River when a similar incident occurred and people rushed to scoop up oil from an overturned tanker.

The country’s worst such incident came in 1998, when 1,000 people were killed when a pipeline leaking fuel exploded in the southern town of Jesse.

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