Chad Ammo Depot Blaze Kills Nine, Wounds Dozens


Chad ammo depot blaze kills nine, wounds dozens

N'Djamena, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 19th Jun, 2024) A fire that tore through a huge military ammunition depot in Chad's capital N'Djamena killed at least nine people and wounded dozens more, officials said Wednesday, warning the toll could rise.

The blaze, which started late on Tuesday, sent powerful blasts into the night sky and the exploding ordnance shook buildings miles away.

Chad's Health Minister Abdelmadjid Abderahim told journalists that the toll was in danger of rising as many of the 46 wounded were in an "extremely serious" condition.

A visit to the scene Wednesday revealed unexploded shells and other munitions scattered on the ground and the burnt-out wreckage of what looked like military vehicles.

Government spokesman Abderaman Koulamallah said the cause was not "criminal" but an investigation was under way.

According to initial indications, several people died in the ammunition storeroom, he said.

"There are fewer deaths and less damage than we foresaw.

We were expecting dozens and dozens of deaths," Koulamallah, who is also foreign minister, told AFP by telephone. "There aren't many civilians who lost their lives."

The sky burst into flames above the Goudji area -- where the army's largest depot of ammunition is located -- for several hours before tapering off and finally ceasing after midnight.

The explosions shook buildings as far as seven kilometres (four miles) away and the flames were visible from far off.

"The roof of our house was blown off by one of the explosions," said resident Kadidja Dakou, who lives in the Amsinene area near Goudji.

The 36-year-old and her three children took refuge in the street alongside their neighbours, for fear their houses would collapse, she told AFP by phone.

"The soldiers had time to evacuate the vehicles, heavy weapons etc. and were able themselves to take shelter," Koulamallah said.