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Train carrying gas bursts into flames, killing at least 25 in Myanmar

YANGON - A train in Myanmar carrying gasoline derailed and burst into flames, killing at least 25 people and injuring 62, most of them villagers trying to collect fuel spilled in the accident, state television said.

MRTV said the fire started after three cars loaded with petrol turned over near a village in Kanbalu township, near the Indian border, just over 300 miles north of Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city.

Residents of Chekgyi village were gathered at the accident site trying to collect spilled petrol when they were trapped in the fire. Some 70 percent of Myanmar's 60 million people live on farms, where fuel is scarce.

A railway department official told Reuters the death toll might rise as some villagers were seriously injured.

Later this month, President Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit Myanmar. The trip comes as recent violence in Burma is turning turns into a broader religious conflict. The Muslim community there is being systematically targeted by ethnic cleansing . Channel 4 Europe's Asia Correspondent John Sparks reports exclusively from the destroyed area of Kyauk Phyu

 

Read more from NBC News about Myanmar

Myanmar is among Asia's poorest countries.

Its quasi-civilian government has opened up the country since taking over in March 2011 from the military, which had ruled for nearly 50 years, and pushed through political and economic reforms, leading Western countries to relax sanctions.

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