A series of major explosions at a military base that rocked the city of Bata on Sunday (7) killed at least 15 people and left 500 others injured. According to the leader of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the incident was the result of careless use of dynamite.
In a statement released on the national network, Obiang called for international support in the recovery effort, adding that he heard “all his support for those affected.”
In the area of the blasts, iron roofs were torn from the houses and twisted in the rubble. Only one or two walls remained standing in most of the residences.
Shortly after the incident, people were running in all directions, many stunned and screaming. A column of smoke formed and firefighters attempted to extinguish the fire.
TVGE footage showed rescuers tearing people from piles of rubble, some wrapped in sheets. Vans filled with survivors, including children, made their way to the local hospital.
Inside the medical establishment, the wards were overcrowded with wounded, covered in blood. Some were lying on the floor or on tables, waiting for help.
TVGE has asked people to donate blood and reported that hospitals in the Central African country are full.
The Spanish embassy in Malabo said the Spaniards should stay at home. “I follow with concern the events in Equatorial Guinea following the explosions in the city of Bata,” the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, said on Twitter.
The explosions come at a time when oil-producing Equatorial Guinea is suffering a double economic shock from the Covid-19 pandemic and falling fuel prices, which is equivalent to three-quarters of state revenue.
The country, a former Spanish colony, is ruled by Obiang, the oldest African leader who, in 1979, led a military coup and seized power from his uncle, who was ultimately executed. Critics of the government point out that the leader and his family enjoy the wealth, while most of Equatorial Guinea live in poverty.