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Negligent handling of dynamite blamed in Equatorial Guinea explosions

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-03-08 22:45

A view of destroyed structures following explosions at a military base, according to local media, in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, March 7, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Government officials have said at least 20 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in a series of explosions at a military base in Equatorial Guinea's largest city, Bata.

In a statement released by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea's president, it was indicated that the blasts were caused by the negligence of a unit charged with the care and protection of stores of dynamite and explosives at the Nkoantoma military base.

"As a consequence I have instructed the competent courts to carry out the necessary investigations in order to fully clarify the events and the assignation of responsibilities that may arise, and the quantification of the damage and loss caused," Nguema said.

The president also expressed his deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and suffered material losses, and offered his full support and solidarity while wishing a speedy recovery for those injured.

Nguema issued a plea for international aid, saying the disaster comes at an already difficult time for Equatorial Guinea due to the economic crisis caused by falling petrol prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Search and rescue operations are ongoing. Health authorities have called on people to donate blood and encouraged volunteer health workers to help.

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