Africa

Equatorial Guinea blasts kill 31, Buhari sends condolences

A series of explosions on Sunday in Equatorial Guinea is now known to have killed 31 people, officials say. The number of those injured rose to 600.

The blasts hit a military base in the country’s main city, Bata. Officials blame badly stored dynamite along with stubble burning by nearby farmers.

Teams including volunteers continue to search the wreckage of buildings and homes for victims.

Three young children were found alive and taken to hospital.

Local media showed a row of covered bodies along a street.

There are fears the death toll could rise further as some victims may still be trapped.

Almost all buildings and homes in the city suffered “huge damage”, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said.

In a statement, President Obiang Nguema said the blasts had been caused “by the negligence of a unit charged with the care and protection of stores of dynamite and explosives” at the Nkoantoma military base.

He said the base had “caught fire due to neighbouring farmers clearing farming land by setting it alight, leading to the explosion”. The president has appealed for international aid.

In a series of tweets, the health ministry called for volunteer health workers to go to Bata Regional Hospital and for urgent blood donations. The ministry said mental health teams were also being deployed to help victims.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, has offered his sincere condolences to President Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo over the explosions.

Buhari, in a statement by presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, extended heartfelt commiserations to those who have lost loved ones in the devastating incident and wished those injured speedy recovery.

He added that the thoughts and prayers of Nigerians are with the people of Equatorial Guinea affected by this tragedy. (BBC)

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