Kenyan Oil Spill Ignition

At least 111 people were killed when an overturned petrol tanker swarmed by locals trying to scoop up free fuel exploded in central Kenya.

The deadly fire happened near the Rift Valley town of Molo, 150 kilometres northwest of Nairobi.

Bodies burnt beyond recognition were still strewn across the road as emergency services struggled to cope with the number of casualties.

The injured were dispatched to several hospitals in the region, while some were to be airlifted on military planes to Nairobi and extra body bags also had to be sent from the capital, rescuers said.

More than 50 people have been killed in Kenya after an oil spill from a crashed lorry caught fire, officials said.

Another 82 people were also critically injured after hundreds of people had crowded round the lorry after it had crashed in the town of Molo, to collect the spilled oil, a local Red Cross official said.

"The people went to scoop up the oil, then something lit the fire, maybe someone dropped a cigarette," Titus Mung'ou, a Kenya Red Cross spokesman, said on Saturday.

Speaking from the scene, Hassan Noor Hassan, a provincial police commissioner in the Rift Valley said that he counted more than 50 charred bodies.

After the lorry careered off the road near the central town of Molo, motorbike riders and others descended on the vehicle in the hope of scooping up petrol, witnesses said.

"After the lorry overturned and it spilled a lot of petrol, hundreds of residents from the area, and motorcycle riders, came to try and get free fuel," he said. "Then it seems somebody lit a cigarette, causing the fire. Or someone who was stopped from getting close by the police started the fire on purpose."

The disaster in Molo followed the deaths of at least 25 people in Nairobi when a supermarket caught fire earlier this week.

Local media have been berating the government for poor safety standards and inadequate disaster preparedness.