Uganda: Gas tanker catches fire, killing at least 31

An oil tanker exploded when it was hit by another vehicle in Uganda's capital, killing at least 31 people, many of whom were collecting fuel.

The accident and ensuing inferno happened a few miles north of the capital, Kampala, on a highway that is a major transit route for fuel heading from Kenya to landlocked Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Reuters reported.

After the tanker crashed, people from the nearby Namungona neighborhood reportedly crowded around it, trying take fuel.

Kampala Metropolitan Police commander Andrew Kaweesa, who inspected the scene of Saturday night's accident, said:

"We can confirm 31 dead and over 10 others seriously injured in the inferno. Most of the victims were scooping fuel from the tanker after it was hit by a car and fuel spilled out. People rushed there to take the fuel and in the process fire broke out engulfing the whole area and trapping them."

An Associated Press correspondent reported charred bodies and limbs, some lined up neatly by rescue workers. Burned-out motorbikes lay scattered around, the BBC said.

Several victims reportedly fled to a papyrus swamp nearby to try and douse the flames. Around 20 were said to be critically ill in hospital.

It is believed to be the worst accident of its kind in Uganda since December 2001, when 90 people died in similar circumstances in the east of the country.