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At least 111 killed in Kenya oil spill blaze

THE death toll from an oil spill blaze in central Kenya has risen to 111, making it one of the east African nation's worst disasters of recent times, police said today.

"We counted 91 bodies at the site and there were 20 others that had been taken to the local mortuary," Rift Valley police provincial commissioner Hassan Noor Hassan said.

A truck crashed near the central Rift Valley town of Molo yesterday, spilling oil that burst into flames as hundreds of locals crowded round in search of free fuel. Many bodies were burned beyond recognition.

Rescuers said someone may have accidentally dropped a cigarette, although there was also suspicion someone angered at being blocked by police may have started the fire on purpose.

After the truck careered off the road, motorbike riders and others descended on the vehicle in the hope of scooping up petrol, witnesses said.

Rescue operations went on through the night in scenes of chaos and anguish.

"My two sons ran home, picked some jerry cans and ran to get some petrol. I tried to stop them but they did not listen, they told me everyone is going there for the free fuel," recounted one distraught woman, who would not give her name.

"Now I cannot trace them," she said, sobbing as she looked at the skull and bones of one corpse nearby.

The disaster in Molo followed the deaths of at least 25 people in Nairobi when a supermarket caught fire earlier this week.


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