At least 35 killed in Benin fuel depot explosion

An explosion at a fuel depot in Benin has claimed the lives of at least 35 people and left over a dozen others seriously injured.

This devastating incident unfolded at a warehouse in the town of Seme-Podji, located near the Nigerian border, where vehicles, including cars, motorbikes, and tricycle taxis, gathered to replenish their fuel supplies.

Preliminary findings suggest that the fire likely erupted during the unloading of gasoline bags.

Benin’s Interior Minister, Alassane Seidou, has pointed to smuggled fuel as the root cause of the blaze, a recurring issue given Nigeria’s status as a major oil producer.

This proximity has led to the proliferation of illegal refineries, fuel storage facilities, and pipelines in border towns, occasionally resulting in devastating fires.

The tragic event was captured in widely circulated video footage, which verified the enormity of the blaze.

Shocked bystanders watched as a towering column of black smoke and flames engulfed the area, seemingly above a marketplace.

The justice ministry has launched an investigation to ascertain the precise cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding this heart-wrenching tragedy.

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