The truck was reported to be carrying fuel from Mozambique’s port city of Beira to  Malawi.

The death toll from a petrol tanker explosion last week in Mozambique has risen to 80, officials said Monday, after the blast ripped through crowds jostling to illegally collect fuel.

The government said people had used hose pipes and jerry cans to collect the petrol, which had also spilt around the truck when the blaze erupted.

The tanker exploded in Tete province, a remote western region near the border with Malawi, killing 43 people on the spot, with more than 100 others badly burnt, including many children.

“For now, the total number of deaths is up to 80,” Tete’s deputy hospital director Veronica de Deus told the daily O Pais newspaper, adding that 35 people were still in a critical condition.

An inquiry has been launched into the cause of the blast.

The truck was reported to be carrying fuel from Mozambique’s port city of Beira to landlocked Malawi.

The government in Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, recently increased the price of fuel after the value of the local currency — the metical — fell sharply.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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