NewsEast & Horn AfricaUganda: Fuel tanker explosion deaths rise amid compensation row


Posted on Monday, 08 July 2013 16:26

Uganda: Fuel tanker explosion deaths rise amid compensation row

By Godfrey Olukya

Last week, several people lost their lives after a damaged oil tanker they had been trying to scoop oil from exploded/Photo©ReutersThe death toll in the oil tanker explosion reached 40 on Sunday evening, amid reports that relatives of the deceased were clashing over compensation money President Yoweri Museveni offered to those who died.


Museveni promised families of the deceased $2,000 each in compensation money, but this has triggered clashes, as several relatives fight over the compensation money.

There have also been new cases of people claiming to have been injured in the explosion and they are now demanding the $2,000 compensation.

The latest is a youth who was wielding a scanned photo, claiming that a burn mark on his knee carried more burns to his heart.

"I was at the scene of accident," Junior Mugera told stunned policemen. "I saw sparks coming from the battery of the truck, which was ferrying oil and that is what started the fire.

"On seeing the sparks I started running away and that is how I survived."

But police have dismissed Mugera as a liar.

At the weekend, a widow fled to the local police for protection, claiming her deceased husband's brother attacked her after she refused to share the compensation money.

Police say such cases were on the increase and that they would do everything to verify claims.

Eye witness reports said people who got caught in the explosion had been trying to scoop the oil from the damaged tanker at Namungoona suburb, 5km from the city centre.

Observers say poverty in Uganda drives people to loot hapless accident victims, before offering them assistance, and it was not unusual for residents to rush to the scene of the accident to siphon fuel from damaged tankers.

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