Police in Tanzania reported that fifty-seven lives were lost on Saturday morning when a fuel tanker exploded after overturning on a road close to Morogoro.
The report explained that the blast may have been sparked by a cigarette as people rushed to collect leaking fuel from the truck.
“There was a huge blast which has so far killed at least 57 people,” regional police chief Willbrod Mtafungwa told reporters.
Witnesses told AFP by telephone that they saw the charred remains of a number of “boda bodas” (motorcycle taxis) and trees scorched by the power of the explosion.
Mtafungwa said the dead were mainly drivers of “boda-boda” and local residents flocking to the scene for the fuel after the tanker crashed.
Morogoro governor, Stephen Kebwe, told reporters that “The Morogoro region had never experienced a disaster of such magnitude.”
He said the tanker overturned on the roadside and the “fuel began to flow freely”.
“We have mobilised all the doctors at the Morogoro regional hospital so the wounded can be treated,” he added.
Policemen dispatched to the accident scene were able to bring the blaze under control.
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International election observers flag concerns over Mozambique’s polls
The country voted in general polls on Tuesday after a campaign marked by violence and claims of electoral fraud
International observers on Thursday said Mozambique’s election was conducted in an “orderly manner”, but expressed concerns about voter registration irregularities and “an unlevel playing field”.
The country voted in presidential, parliamentary and provincial polls on Tuesday after a campaign marked by violence and claims of electoral fraud.
President Filipe Nyusi’s Frelimo party — which has ruled Mozambique since independence in 1975 — is widely expected to again beat its civil war foe, Renamo, a former rebel group turned main opposition party.
Election day was seen as largely peaceful, but tensions have risen with uncertainty over when the results will be released.
The final results must be published within 15 days of the vote, but the electoral commission has indicated a provisional tally — which had been expected on Thursday — would not be issued.
Ignacio Sanchez Amor, leader of the European Union’s OSCE observer mission, said “voting procedures were well-implemented” on election day.
However, he said the fact that there were no observers in almost half of the country’s polling stations “did not contribute to the transparency of the process”.
Amor added that “an unlevel playing field was evident throughout the campaign”.
“The ruling party dominated the campaign in all provinces and benefited from the advantages of incumbency, including use of state resources.”
The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) said it was regrettable that irregularities in voter registration had not been addressed before the vote.
Local non-profit observer groups had reported the presence of 300,000 “ghost voters” — names not aligned with real voters — on the electoral roll in the southern Gaza province.
“Key aspects of the process such as the security challenges, voter registration, the campaign and selective accreditation of citizen observers posed challenges to the integrity of the elections,” said EISA Mozambique head and former Ghana President John Dramani Mahama.
Former Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said the Commonwealth’s observer mission “remained concerned about the impact” of the suspected ghost voters on the election.
However, observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had no such concerns.
“The pre-election and the voting phases of the 2019 electoral processes were generally peaceful and conducted in an orderly manner,” said Zimbabwean Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, the SADC observer head.
The election has been seen as a key test of the peace deal sealed in August between Frelimo and Renamo, which fought a brutal 1975-1992 civil war.
Landslide kills 22 in southern Ethiopia
Officials say the landslide in the district of Konta occurred Sunday following 10 hours of heavy rains
Rescue workers on Tuesday used excavators to dig out bodies after a landslide in southern Ethiopia washed away homes and killed more than 20 people, a local official said.
The landslide in the district of Konta occurred Sunday following 10 hours of heavy rains, said the official, Takele Tesfu.
“There are 22 people dead and we have only been able to dig up 17 using manpower and machine power,” Takele told reporters.
“So far, we cannot get the others, so tomorrow we will continue to dig.”
He said the victims included nine women and six children.
While the district — located in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region — sees landslides with some regularity, Takele said this was the deadliest he could remember.
“The area where this occurred is very mountainous, and this means the landslide was very dangerous,” he said.
Ethiopia is nearing the end of its rainy season, but security forces are nonetheless relocating some families for fear that more rain in the coming days could lead to similar disasters, Takele said.
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