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Over 70 burned to death in Nigeria

world Updated: Mar 30, 2007 15:07 IST

AFP
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A tanker lorry caught fire in northern Nigeria following a crash, killing more than 70 people who were scooping fuel from it, police said on Wednesday.

The accident happened in Kaduna State on Monday evening, the police spokesman for Kaduna, Saad Yahaya, said.

"More than 70 people have been confirmed dead. There are some survivors but we don't know exactly how many," the spokesman said.

"The tanker turned over, the villagers came to scoop fuel and then the tanker caught fire", he explained.

Yahaya said the tanker turned over while trying to park in the village of Katugal, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) south of the state capital Kaduna.

It was not immediately clear if the impact of the accident caused fuel to leak from the tanker or whether the vehicle was vandalised.

Road accidents with big casualty figures are common in Nigeria where vehicles are often poorly maintained, overloaded and driven in a reckless fashion.

In November of last year a driverlost control of his truck outside Kaduna during gubernatorial primaries and crashed into a crowd, crushing scores of people to death.

Almost equally common are fires where people perish whilst scooping fuel, be it from oil company installations or trucks.

The Nigerian authorities habitually condem as greedy those who die in such explosions.