At least 55 persons were killed and 37 injured in a petrol tanker explosion in Niger’s capital, the country’s interior minister said on Monday.
In a Twitter post, Mohamed Bazzoum said several vehicles and houses were also burnt in the incident in Niamey.
President Issoufou Mahamadoo called the incident a "national tragedy", with hospital sources saying the casualties may rise because many of those injured were in critical state.
The explosion took place when people were attempting to scoop fuel from an overturned tanker.
Niger's oil rich neighbor, Nigeria, has recorded several oil tanker explosions that claimed hundreds of lives in the past years -- often when people tried to steal fuel from sabotaged pipelines.
By Rafiu Ajakaye in Lagos, Nigeria