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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Scores die in Nigeria tanker fire
The burnt tanker
The driver of the tanker said he pleaded with people to stay away
A petrol tanker explosion has killed at least 98 people in a remote village in north-western Nigeria.

The victims were trying to scoop fuel from the scene of a crash after a 33,000-litre petrol tanker tipped over in a village in Kaduna State.

Police authorities say there has been a mass burial for most of the bodies which were "burnt beyond recognition".

Hundreds of people trying to scoop petrol from vandalised pipelines have lost their lives in Nigeria.

Trapped

The accident occurred in Katugal village in Kagarko district some 150km north of the capital, Abuja, on Monday night, although news of the crash only broke on Wednesday.

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"Only three of the corpses were recognised by their relatives, but emergency workers are on the scene," Kaduna State police spokesman Saad Yahaya told the BBC.

The villagers who became trapped in the fire had rushed to scoop the petrol gushing from the crashed tanker.

The driver of the tanker said he pleaded with people to stay away because of the danger, but even after so many disasters people still feel it is worth the risk.

Despite being Africa's largest oil producer, Nigerians often suffer fuel shortages because of corruption, poor management and infrastructure problems.

When pipelines in the south pass through poor communities, they are often broken so that the fuel can be stolen.

The BBC's Alex Last in Lagos says the price of fuel has been rising in the north, yet people need it for transport, to cook or run generators since electricity can be a rarity.




SEE ALSO
'Burnt to ash' in Nigeria blast
12 May 06 |  Africa
Country profile: Nigeria
18 Jan 07 |  Country profiles



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