At Least 19 Dead After Fuel Truck Crash in Western Uganda: Police

By Reuters
August 19, 2019 Updated: August 19, 2019

KAMPALA—At least 19 people were killed when a fuel truck exploded after losing control and ramming into three cars in western Uganda on Sunday, Aug. 18, police said in a statement.

Early on Monday authorities said nine bodies had been retrieved from the crash site and transported to a nearby health center “for further post-mortem analysis and DNA profiling”

Another body was found trapped under the truck, police said.

Nine more people injured in the accident later died from their wounds, police spokesman Fred Enanga told Reuters on Monday morning.

The accident occurred at a small trading center on a highway between the capital Kampala and Kasese town near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.

People look towards a fire following a fuel truck collision in Rubirizi, Uganda on Aug. 18, 2019 in this still image taken from social media video. (Nayebare Ediger via Reuters)

Flames from the blast tore through at least 25 shops nearby.

Footage on social media, posted by JBC News, shows the fuel truck up in flames, igniting nearby shops.

Fatal road crashes are frequent in the East African country, often the result of lax law enforcement, poorly serviced vehicles and potholed roads.

At least 85 people died in neighboring Tanzania on Aug. 10 after a fuel tanker exploded in the town of Morogoro, as flames ripped through a crowd that had gathered to siphon petrol from it.

Fire fighters try to extinguish a Patrol Tanker blaze in Morogoro, Tanzania, on Aug. 10, 2019. (AP Photo)

Video footage posted on social media showed people collecting fuel into jerry cans before the fire incident.

Residents are routinely killed by explosions while stealing fuel from incapacitated tankers in East Africa. Those who steal the fuel usually hope to be able to sell it cheaply to motorists.

In 2013, at least 29 people were killed on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, as scores swarmed around the scene of an accident.

There is limited awareness about the danger of explosions of damaged fuel tankers, said Henry Bantu, a road safety expert who runs the Tanzania-based Safe Speed Foundation. Local leaders need to do more to educate people on the risks, he said.

By Elias Biryabarema and Omar Mohammed

The Associated Press contributed to this report.