At least 11 dead, 88 badly injured after a massive fuel depot explosion in Guinea’s capital

At least 11 dead, 88 badly injured after a massive fuel depot explosion in Guinea’s capital

By Associated Press

CONAKRY, Guinea: An explosion and inferno at Guinea’s main fuel depot in the capital of Conakry left at least 11 people dead and more than 80 seriously injured, authorities said Monday, as the West African country awaited help from other nations and the death toll was expected to rise.

The massive explosion sparked the fire at the Guinean Petroleum Company depot after midnight Sunday, Guinea’s presidency said. It caused significant damage in the heart of the Kaloum administrative district, home to most government offices.

At least 88 people sustained serious injuries, said Lt. Col. Jean Traoré, technical director of Guinea’s Civil Protection Service. “This assessment is only provisional,” he told reporters.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion at the depot that supplies most of the fuel in Guinea. The depot had been in the process of being relocated to a remote site in a bid to avoid such a disaster.

There are now fears of a major supply disruption as the country relies on imported refined petroleum products.

A worker at the depot was quoted by the Conakry-based Guinee Matin news website as saying the explosion occurred while a ship was offloading. “I lost several of my friends in this fire. Some like me are guards, others are technicians. … All offices are destroyed as well as all equipment,” said the worker identified as Ahmed Condé.

Security Minister Bachir Diallo said on state television the fire had been contained and some countries including Senegal and Mali were sending medical and safety teams.

The fire razed several offices and buildings. Many residents fled their homes as thick smoke spread.

“I was sleeping when I heard a whistle, then a deafening explosion,” said resident Mounatou Baldé.

Authorities shut down schools and public places in the capital. Access to the district was shut except for essential services. The presidency asked people to stay at home.

Col. Mamadi Doumbouya, who was sworn in as interim president following a coup in 2021, said the state is taking full care of those injured.

“I call on the people of Guinea to show solidarity and prayer for the nation in these moments of hard trial,” Doumbouya added.