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Fire in a fuel depot in Conakry: injured, schools and administrations closed

Fire in a fuel depot in Conakry: injured, schools and administrations closed
People try to salvage valuables from buildings on fire after a tanker   -  
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KOLA SULAIMON/AFP or licensors


A strong explosion followed by a fire on Monday in Guinea's main fuel depot hit the centre of Conakry, injuring dozens of people according to a medical source and leading to the closure of schools and administrations.

The fire occurred at around 00:00 (local time and GMT) at the Guinean state-owned oil company's main fuel depot in Kaloum, Conakry's administrative and business district.

In a press release, the government announced the closure of schools and asked public and private sector workers to stay at home in the greater Conakry area, including the capital and its surroundings.

The fire "of unknown origin" broke out during the night and its "scale and consequences could have a direct impact on the population", it said.

Service stations will remain closed and "in the next few hours, a progress report will be issued and an investigation will be launched to establish the causes and responsibilities", according to the government.

"It was a deafening noise that woke us up; we were already asleep. As we live near the Niger Market, the windows of our house and those of our neighbours were smashed. We managed to get away from the place," he said.

The usually crowded port district looked like a dead city on Monday morning.

Thick smoke with reddish flames rose into the night sky as residents fled the area where the fire broke out, according to images on social networks.

- Dozens injured -

Dozens of civil protection vehicles were dispatched to the scene, according to witnesses.

"Additional resources are being deployed to contain the fire and minimise its consequences", said the government.

It urged people "in the areas surrounding" the fire to "move away from the site, not only for their own safety but also to allow the services to operate in complete safety".

"Dozens of injured people are arriving at two of Conakry's main hospitals, Ignace Deen and Donka", Dr Mamadouba Sylla, a surgeon working at Donka Hospital, told AFP.

"Kaloum is burning. The forces of law and order completely barricade the port area and the fire brigade was running towards the (site) of the fire," a local resident told AFP by telephone.

"The power is completely cut off in the area," Thierno Diallo, who identified himself as a customs officer, told AFP.

Since September 2021, Guinea has been ruled by a junta led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya. He overthrew President Alpha Condé, who in 2010 became Guinea's first democratically elected president after decades of authoritarian rule.

Following the putsch, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya was sworn in as President and pledged, under international pressure, to hand over power to elected civilians within two years, starting in January 2023.

He has promised to rebuild a state plagued by divisions and rampant corruption.

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