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230 killed in Congo while trying to steal gas.

An oil tanker overturned in the Congo and hundreds of local villagers rushed in to steal the gas. However, the tanker exploded an hour later killing over two hundred looters and injuring two hundred more. (The current death toll is being reported as 230).

According to a Chinese newspapers, UN peacekeepers responded to the tanker wreck, but could not get the mob of looters to back away. No UN peacekeepers were killed because they remained a safe distance away.

From AP…

Sange is located between Uvira and the Congolese provincial capital, Bukavu, further to the north.

After the accident, “people came out and tried to siphon the contents of the tanker,” said Madnodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission, which has rushed troops to help evacuate survivors.

“A fire started, and the people trying to siphon the fuel were killed or injured,” Mounoubai told The Associated Press. “Right now, we are talking about 220 dead and 111 wounded, but this is not the final toll. This is a very fluid situation.”

James Reynolds, the deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Congo, said at least 219 people died — 208 immediately, and another 11 from burn wounds after they were taken to surrounding medical facilities.

“Many of the bodies were burnt far beyond recognition,” the Kinshasa-based Reynolds said. “It’ a terrible scene,” and a tragedy, he added, “for people who didn’t have very much to begin with.”

Mounoubai said at least a dozen homes near the accident site had been destroyed in the blaze. Most people in the area live in thatched huts made of dried leaves and hardened mud. Reynolds said a teeming market nearby had also been reduced to ashes.