At least 100 people were killed in South Sudan in an oil tanker explosion on Thursday.

The incident took place in Maridi in Western Equatoria region after the tanker veered off the road and hundreds of local residents assembled at the accident site to gather fuel from the tanker when it burst into flames.

Reuters reported citing local officials that the death toll stood at 100, while 50 were critically injured.

Charles Kisagna, the minister of information in Western Equatoria, told Reuters the hospitals were overwhelmed and were in dire need of supplies.

"We don't have medical equipment and these people may not survive because we do not have the facilities to treat the highly burnt people," Kisanga said.

Such incidents are common in the east African region where fuel tankers often have to travel on roads with almost no tarmac.

In a similar incident in June 2013, at least 30 people were killed and scores of others injured in Uganda when a broken down fuel tanker exploded on a highway while the local residents were pilfering fuel from it.