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Niger fuel tanker blast kills at least 55

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NIAMEY (Reuters) – At least 55 people were killed in Niger when an overturned fuel tanker from which they were siphoning gasoline exploded, the government said on Monday.

The incident took place late Sunday night on the highway linking Niger’s Diori Hamani international airport to the capital Niamey.

Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum said 55 charred bodies had been recovered from the scene and that 37 were being treated in nearby hospitals.

A presidency statement released later on Monday said three victims had since succumbed to their wounds, raising the death toll to 58.

Traffic accidents are common in West Africa, where roads are bad and safety standards poor.

(This story has been refilled to clarify fuel type in headline)

(Reporting by Moussa Aksar; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Jan Harvey)

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