South Sudan deaths after oil tank explodes

  • 18/09/2015

At least 85 people have been killed in South Sudan after an oil tanker crashed and exploded as people were scooping up the fuel.

"They were killed when the oil tanker exploded, there were at least 85 people dead," presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told AFP on Thursday, citing local officials.

More than 100 others suffered burns, local government official John Skia told South Sudanese Eye Radio.

The crash and subsequent blast took place on Wednesday on a road some 250km west of the capital Juba, close to the small town of Maridi.

A doctor at Maridi hospital, Chandi Savior, told Radio Tamazuj they were struggling to help all those with burns, with supplies of basics such as oxygen and simple pain killers low.

Medics are "not really able to calm down this pain", Savior told the radio.

Fuel leaks and oil tanker accidents in Africa often draw huge crowds scrambling to scoop up the fuel, resulting in many deaths due to accidental fires.

But South Sudan is also in the grip of a dire economic crisis sparked by more than 21 months of civil war, which has caused rampant inflation and soaring prices of basics, including food and fuel.

The violence has left tens of thousands of people dead and the impoverished country split along ethnic lines.