108 killed, 92 injured in fuel tanker explosion in Sierra Leone

People look on at a pile of burnt motorbikes in the aftermath of a fuel tanker explosion in Freetown on Nov 6, 2021. (SAIDU BAH / AFP)

FREETOWN – At least 108 people were killed and 92 others injured in a fuel tanker explosion here late Friday, Sierra Leone's National Disaster Management Agency confirmed on Saturday.

According to a statement by NDMA, a loaded fuel tanker and a truck carrying granite stones collided on a highway while the fuel tanker was about to enter a nearby filling station to discharge its fuel.

A loaded fuel tanker and a truck carrying granite stones collided on a highway while the fuel tanker was about to enter a nearby filling station to discharge its fuel, according to Sierra Leone's disaster management agency

Footages and eyewitnesses revealed that while the collision took place, both drivers came out of their vehicles and warned community residents to stay off the scene while trying to address a leakage emanating from the collision, the NDMA said.

In the interim, some community members rushed to the scene and took advantage of the leakage to scoop fuel and store it in nearby makeshift structures. In the cause of scooping the fuel, a major explosion happened and resulted in a fire disaster, it added.

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The statement said the injured were admitted into different hospitals across the city and suffering varying degrees of burning. Meanwhile, sufficient medical supply has been provided to the victims.

Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio on Saturday also expressed his condolences over the fuel tanker explosion, saying the government will "do everything to support affected families."

In the meantime, the president canceled his trip to the Extraordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States Authority of Heads of State and Government, which is set to be held in Ghana on Sunday.

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