A gas tanker truck explosion has killed at least one hundred people in Nigeria. The victims had just refilled gas cylinders for cooking when the explosion occurred.
The incident occurred on Christmas Eve in the southeast Nigerian community of Nnewi. Local residents had gathered at an industrial gas plant to refill their gas cylinders so they could use them to cook on Christmas Day. Many spent hours queuing.
The exact circumstances of the explosion are not yet clear, but it seems the fire was ignited at the refueling truck while the gas was being discharged. A report from the local newspaper, the Vanguard, indicated that the truck may have been discharging the gas without waiting for a mandatory cooling period to pass. The explosion caused a huge fire that took several hours for firefighters to extinguish.
Workers at the gas plant and passers-by were also among the victims of the fire. Buildings and around 50 cars were also damaged or destroyed, according to a report in the Leadership newspaper.
The Associated Press quoted Emeka Peters, a witness of the explosion, as saying the truck had not observed the waiting time.
"Many of [the victims] were burned beyond recognition, and I doubt if many family members of the dead victims would be able to identify the remains of their loved ones," said Peter.
mz/jil (AP, dpa)