Thu, 22 Apr 2021

A series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 15 people and wounded hundreds of others on Sunday, state television reported.

TGVE read out a statement from President Teodoro Obiang Nguema which said the explosion was due to the "negligent handling of dynamite" in the military barracks located in the neighborhood of Mondong Nkuantoma in Bata. He said that the explosion occurred at 4 p.m. local time. The president said that impact of the explosion affected buildings across the city.

TVGE said that at least five explosions caused at least 20 deaths and wounded more than 400 others.

There were some discrepancies with the death toll, with TGVE reporting 20 dead, a Health Ministry tweet saying 17 were killed and the president's statement mentioning 15.

State television showed a huge plume of smoke rising above the explosion site as crowds fled, with many people crying out "we don't know what happened, but it is all destroyed."

The health ministry tweeted that its health workers are treating the injured at the site of the tragedy and in medical facilities, but feared people were still missing under the rubble.

Images on local media seen by The Associated Press show people screaming and crying running through the streets amid debris and smoke. Roofs of houses were ripped off and wounded people were being carried into a hospital.

The blasts were a shock for the oil rich Central African nation. A doctor calling into TVGE, who went by his first name, Florentino, said the situation was a "moment of crisis" and that the hospitals were overcrowded. He said a sports center set up for COVID-19 patients would be used to receive minor cases.

Radio station, Radio Macuto, said on Twitter that people were being evacuated within four kilometers of the city because the fumes might be harmful.

Following the blast, the Spanish Embassy in Equatorial Guinea recommended on Twitter that, "Spanish nationals stay in their homes."

(AP)

Originally published on France24

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