Sierra Leone oil tanker explosion kills scores of people in capital as president mourns horrendous loss of life

Scores of people have been killed after an oil tanker exploded near Sierra Leone’s capital, with the country’s president mourning the “horrendous loss of life”.

Local authorities and morgue officials told the Reuters news agency that 91 people had been killed in the incident near Freetown.

The government has yet to confirm the number of dead.

The explosion took place early on Saturday after a bus struck the tanker in Wellington, a suburb of the capital.

Police were at the scene to assist disaster management officials.

President Julius Maada Bio, who is in Glasgow for the COP26 climate talks, deplored the “horrendous loss of life”.

“My profound sympathies with families who have lost loved ones and those who have been maimed as a result,” he tweeted.

Victims included people who had flocked to collect fuel leaking from the ruptured vehicle, said Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.

The mayor said the extent of the damage was not yet clear.

The head of the country’s National Disaster Management Agency, Brima Bureh Sesay, said: “We’ve got so many casualties, burnt corpses.

“It’s a terrible, terrible accident.”

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