By Devin Watkins
A series of massive blasts rocked a city in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday. Hundreds of people were wounded in Bata, and several were killed, as a result of the explosions.
The president of the Central African nation, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, said the incident was the result of “negligent handling of dynamite”.
He added that nearly every house and building was damaged in Bata, a city with a population of around a quarter million. President Obiang expressed his support for all those affected.
The defense ministry said in a statement that a fire at a weapons depot in the barracks caused the explosion of high-caliber ammunition.
An investigation has been launched into the incident.
What happened in Bata?
The blasts rocked Bata at around 4 PM local time on Sunday. State television carried images of huge plumes of smoke rising from the military base.
Local TV showed rescue teams pulling people from piles of rubble and residents screaming and running through the streets amid smoke and debris.
Roofs appeared to have been blown off many houses, even those made of iron. Most residences were left with only one or two walls standing.
As the wounded flooded hospitals in Bata, the national health ministry urged citizens to donate blood and called for health workers to volunteer their assistance.
Where is Bata?
Equatorial Guinea lies south of Cameroon in Central Africa, and has a population of 1.3 million.
The oil-rich nation was Spanish colony until independence in 1968.
Bata lies on the western coast, and acts as a major port city and transportation hub.
Spain’s Embassy in Equatorial Guinea urged Spanish nationals to stay in their homes, as Bata deals with the devastation left from the blasts.