Details remain very limited at this time, but the largest city in Equatorial Guinea, Bata, experienced a huge explosion, or possibly multiple explosions, that flattened buildings and killed at least 17, with hundreds more being injured. It is thought that the incident occurred on or near a military base, near where the barracks are located. Dramatic footage shot in the blast’s aftermath shows widespread destruction and stunned bystanders. It is said that every structure in the city was impacted in some ways. The images are reminiscent of the massive blast in Beiruit’s port that occurred last summer as well as several ammunition depot disasters that have occurred in recent years.
As it sits now, we have no indication that this was an attack of any kind and citizens are frantically trying to dig through the rubble to find survivors. ABC News reports that at least 420 people are being treated at local hospitals. Internet and other communications are mostly down throughout the area.
The central African country has a relatively tiny military force and is an energy producer, although many of its people still live in extreme poverty. Many seconadary structures in Bata are not built well and would be particularly susceptible to a shockwave from a blast like this.
We will update this post as more information comes available.
Multiple outlets confirm that the country’s long-ruling President Obiang said the explosion was caused by ‘negligence’ related to dynamite use at the military base. No other details were offered aside from noting that an investigation was underway. There are also massive concerns that the death toll will rise dramatically and that a humanitarian crisis could emerge due to a lack of safe shelter and basic essentials for the surviving population in the city.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com