The road, which connects Morogoro with Dar es Salaam, the country's most populous city, is used to transport imports and exports to and from the coast.
A video posted on social media showed dozens of people carrying yellow jerricans around the truck. "Many people died here, even those who were not stealing fuel, because this is a busy place", Daniel Ngogo, a witness, told Reuters news agency.
"The Morogoro region had never experienced a disaster of such magnitude", Morogoro Governor Stephen Kebwe was quoted as saying by AFP. We warned that the truck could explode at any moment, but no one wanted to listen, so we went on our way.
Police managed to put out the flames and cordoned off the area.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli expressed his condolences but said he was "very shocked" by the looting that happened at the scene.
The precise cause of the explosion has been obfuscated by conflicting claims from witnesses and officials.
"We have mobilised all the doctors at the Morogoro regional hospital so the wounded can be treated", he added.
DAR ES SALAAM-A fuel tanker exploded in eastern Tanzania on Saturday killing at least 60 people, authorities said, as flames ripped through a crowd that had gathered to siphon petrol from it.
A similar accident occurred in Nigeria last month where at least 45 people were killed when a crashed fuel tanker exploded.
"Unfortunately fire broke out and burned a lot of people, a lot of people have lost their lives in this incident", he said.
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