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Malawian truck kills 73 in Mozambique

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At least 73 people died in Mozambique Thursday afternoon after a Malawian fuel tanker exploded and caught fire as villagers were siphoning the fuel it had carried from the port of Beira.

A Mozambican government official was quoted by the BBC confirming that people had been trying to take petrol from the truck when it exploded in the village of Caphiridzange in Tete Province near the border with Malawi.

More than 100 others are reported to have sustained various degrees of injuries, some of them critical.

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One report said the truck had crashed and people had been trying to siphon off fuel.

Russian Today reported that the truck was delivering petrol and overturned before exploding at around 3pm local time.

Quoting Radio Mozambique, CNBC reported that the truck driver from Malawi had turned off the main road to sell fuel to local residents, who were gathered around the vehicle when the fuel caught fire.

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It could also not be immediately established if the incident could be linked to ambushes rebel group Renamo have been carrying out on motorists on Mozambican roads in the past few months.

Mozambique’s Information Ministry Director, Joao Manasses, said a preliminary investigation into the matter revealed that it was also possible that the vehicle had been ambushed by residents of Caphiridzange.

Government ministers were due to arrive in the area on Friday to oversee the rescue work and inquire more into the incident.

The tanker was on its way to Malawi from the port city of Beira.

Minister of Information Malison Ndau confirmed the incident and said relevant officials have been sent by the Mozambican government to the scene of the inferno to establish what actually happened.

“I have read about the incident on the social media and Mozambican government officials have been in touch with us. They have since rushed to the scene of the accident to establish what happened. They have promised to come back to us as soon as possible,” Ndau explained.

The quantity and the value of the fuel in the tanker could not be immediately established but the vehicle belongs to Lilongwe-based Walkers Investments.

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