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Two Babies, 33 Others Die As Explosion Rock Illegal Fuel Depot Along Benin-Nigeria Border


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – At least 35 people have died in a fire explosion at an illegal fuel depot located in the town of Seme-Podji near the Republic of Benin’s border with Nigeria.

The incident happened on Saturday when the warehouse used for smuggled fuel exploded into flames.

According to eyewitnesses, a local resident stated that cars, motorbikes and tricycle taxis used to patronise the affected facility to stock up on fuel.

“I am still in shock. We heard people screaming for help. But the intensity of the flames was too much for people to try to approach,” said Innocent Sidokpohou, a local carpenter.

“I got gas for my motorbike to go do my shopping. I left and barely five meters awayI heard an explosion. When I turned around it was all black smoke,” he added.

Also, Benin’s Interior Minister, Alassane Seidou, who confirmed the incident on Saturday, declined to give details about how it happened.

However, Seidou stated that two of the victims were babies and 20 people who sustained injuries from the blast were being treated in hospital.

He said the cause of the fire was “smuggled fuel,” adding that the blaze left the victim’s bodies “badly charred.”

For his part, Prosecutor Abdoubaki Adam-Bongle, in a statement, said, “The fire burned down the store and according to an initial assessment resulted in 35 deaths including one child.

 “According to the witnesses interviewed, the fire probably started during the unloading of bags of gasoline.”

 

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