Dozens dead in army barracks’ blast in Equatorial Guinea

By Lisa VIVES

A series of four explosions heard in Equatorial Guinea’s commercial hub, Bata, left a huge plume of smoke hanging over the city. 

News reports say 20 have died and there is significant damage. Health workers have been asked to report to the city’s hospitals, says the Spanish news agency EFE.

The TVGE channel broadcast footage of wrecked and burning buildings, with people — including children — being pulled from the rubble and the wounded lying on a hospital floor. A video posted on the social media shows a chaotic scene of distressed people fleeing from the site of the explosions.


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    The blasts were caused by ‘negligence’ relating to the storage of dynamite at the barracks, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema was reported to have said. The impact of the explosion “caused damage in almost all the houses and buildings in Bata,” he added, and called for international help with aid.

    The camp houses elements of the army’s special forces and the paramilitary gendarmerie, a journalist said.

    Bata is the largest city in the oil- and gas-rich nation, with around 800,000 of the nation’s 1.4 million population living there — most of them in poverty.

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    The president’s son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, a vice president with responsibility for defense and security, has appeared in television footage at the scene of the blasts inspecting the damage, accompanied by his Israeli bodyguards, the French news service AFP reports.

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