File picture: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Dar es Salaam - At least 60 people were killed on Saturday when a fuel tanker exploded in eastern Tanzania, an official said.

The tanker toppled over in an accident in the town of Morogoro, about 180 kilometres west of the major commercial port of Dar es Salaam. People were trying to siphon petrol from the damaged tanker when it exploded, witness Kiondo Mshana said.

Most of the victims were taken to hospital in Morogoro, although some bodies were still at the accident site, local health official Rita Lyamuya said.

In Tanzania and many other African countries, deadly traffic accidents are a frequent occurrence due to poorly maintained roads and vehicles.

In May, at least 58 people died in Niger when a tanker exploded. Last month, a similar accident occurred in Nigeria, with around 50 dead.