| GEO World|
| 230 dead after DR Congo tanker truck explosion|
| Updated at: 0204 PST, Sunday, July 04, 2010|
SANGE: A fuel truck exploded and set fire to a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing more than 230 people and injuring scores, officials and local residents said Saturday.
Flames engulfed dozens of earth and straw constructed homes as villagers, many of them children, crowded around the tanker after it overturned late on Friday to scavenge its contents.
"People tried to escape but were caught by the fire and reduced to ashes," said Tondo Sahizira, a 28-year-old teacher at Sange, home to some 50,000 people located around 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of the Sud-Kivu regional capital of Bukavu, close to the border with Burundi.
The flames spread rapidly to a local cinema hall where a crowd had gathered to follow the World Cup football matches being played in South Africa, said Mbaka Munyerere. "They were taken by surprise and we could not save them," he said. "It's terrible!"
Sud-Kivu governor Marcellin Cishambo said: "When we arrived in Sange at about noon, we were already up to 230 dead. In our presence, three more bodies were added. We are therefore at more than 230 dead and 105 injured."
Desire Kama from the Congolese Red Cross said that according to a provisional estimate at 1100 GMT there were 221 deaths -- of whom 61 were children and 36 women -- and 214 were injured.