11 April 2011

Tanzania: Four Die in Oil Tanker Explosion

Singida — Four people, including a police officer, were burnt to death after a petrol tanker exploded after colliding with a train in Manyoni District, Singida Region yesterday.The grisly accident left more than 15 policemen seriously injured when they tried to prevent people from stealing fuel from the tanker.

The deceased police officer who worked at the Manyoni Police Station was identified only as Alifayo. Others killed along with him were Maulid Nasibu,37, a motorcycle mechanic in Manyoni and Maru Seleya who also resided in the area. Two other bodies were burnt beyond recognition.The Singida regional police commander, Ms Celina Kaluba, mentioned the survivors as police constables Philipo, Maurus, Mosses, Ally and Adinani.

Others were police constables Joramu, Gift, George, Mikidadi, John, Stanley, Hamisi, Cleopa and detective constable Nurdin. The cops, according to the RPC had been called to stop the residents from stealing the fuel.

Ms Kaluba said the accident occurred at 8 pm near the round-about area in Manyoni. He added that the Scania petrol tanker was being driven by Masudi Mussa, 43, who lives at Tabata in Dar es Salaam and that the lorry was ferrying oil to Mwanza. "My men (police) arrived at the scene to stop the residents from accessing the accident scene because we knew of the danger.... But I think there occurred an electricity hitch which resulted to the explosion," she said.

She said about 45 residents were also injured and were receiving treatment at different hospitals in Singida and Dodoma regions."I ask residents to stay awy when these incidents happen as they are very dangerous," she stressed.

Meanwhile, in Manyara Region reports say the number of fatal accidents involving motorcycles continue to rise in the region after two young riders were killed over the weekend. The two, residents of Mbuguni area near the famous Mererani gemstone mines, succumbed to serious injuries after their motorbike collided with a bus. The grisly accident took place at around 7.30 pm on Sunday at Mikungani Village on the border of Manyara and Arusha regions, about 30 kilometres from Arusha city.

The deceased have been identified as James Arnold, 23, and Mohamed Mrangi, 25, both residents of Mbuguni township. Eye witnesses told The Citizen that the motorbike collided with a bus, a Toyota DCM that was heading to Mererani from Arusha. They blamed overspeeding on the part of the motorcycle whose registration number could not be immediately obtained.

Accidents involving motorbikes have been a matter of concern in Arusha and Manyara regions in recent months despite intensified patrols by traffic police. Elsewhere, police in Manyara Region are looking for the driver of a bus that was involved in an accident in Babati District and sped off. At least 19 people sustained injuries when the Pole Pole bus that was heading to Arusha overturned near Magugu township. The accident occurred at 5 pm on Friday when the passenger vehicle overturned.

Police blamed over speeding for the accident in which the driver disappeared and is being sought by law enforcers. According to the Manyara regional police commander Mr Parmena Sumary, the bus owner, Mr Isaack Moshi, is being questioned by the police.

However, the regional police boss could not disclose the name of the driver who is was the run. "We are still looking for him", he said yesterday. Eye witnesses said the bus, a Fuso, was overspeeding when it arrived at the Magugu bus terminal along the Babati-Arusha highway. The bus started its journey at Gallapo township and was heading to Arusha enroute Babati, the regional headquarters.

Out of the injured passengers, nine were treated for minor injuries and allowed to proceed to their destinations whereas 10 were still undergoing treatment. The injured passengers said the driver was to blame for the mishap and had been overspeeding from the start of their journey at Gallapo, some 15 km south east of Babati.

Additional reporting by Joseph Lyimo in Mererani

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