At least 17 people died this Sunday and 420 were injured by a chain of explosions that occurred in a military barracks in Bata, the most populous city and economic capital of Equatorial Guinea, reported the Ministry of Health.
The explosions, which caused a huge column of smoke and extensive damage to buildings, occurred at the Army’s rapid intervention barracks, located in the Nkoantoma neighborhood, which has an armory.
In that place a “health emergency” after the “strong explosions in the military barracks” and “it is estimated that there have been deaths and many disappeared under the rubble,” stressed the Ministry of Health.
“The contingent of health workers with the fire brigade,” he added, “are deployed in the place providing health care and transferring the seriously and very seriously injured” to hospitals.
As explained to Efe by a Spanish resident in Bata, a city in the continental part of the country with more than 300,000 inhabitants, there was “a huge explosion.”
“The shock wave has been enormous, because it has been throughout the city”
“All the windows were opened,” he continued, “we have taken all the children out of the house and gone out into the garden. We have seen a column of smoke and suddenly there has been a second explosion and a little later another one, the last two more. weak”.
“The shock wave has been enormous, because it has been throughout the city. Now another friend who has managed to get here was next to the hospital and says that a lot of burned people have started to arrive, of injured people,” said this source on condition of anonymity.
“We don’t really know what happened, but the military have taken to the streets and now the calls are not going through, we are only connected by WhatsApp the people who have internet, which almost nobody here has, “added the Spaniard.
Three explosions took place around 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT) and two hours later the fourth took place.
The Nkoantoma barracks are located near an area of social housing and dozens of people have fled the scene of the incident, several of them injured, according to state television TVGE.
The Vice President of Equatorial Guinea and in charge of National Defense and State Security, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, he traveled to the scene, according to official sources told Efe.
In a message posted on its Twitter account, the Spanish Embassy in Malabo published several emergency telephone numbers and noted that “as a result of the explosions that occurred today in the city of Bata, Spanish nationals are recommended to stay at home “.
The French ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Brochenin Olivier, reacted to the event by sending his “deepest condolences for the catastrophe that has just occurred in Bata.”
“My thoughts are with all the victims. Solidarity,” Olivier added.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.