9 Killed and 46 Hurt in Explosions at Chad Military Depot

(UnitedHeadlines.com) – On June 18, a fire at a military ammunition depot in the capital of the West African nation of Chad caused explosions, killing nine people and injuring 46.

The health minister, Abdelmadjid Abderahim, warned that the death toll could rise as many of the people injured are in “extremely serious” condition. It is unclear if those injured and killed were military personnel or civilians.

According to government spokesperson Abderaman Koulamallah, residents in the Goudji district of the capital, N’Djamena, were awakened while sleeping late on June 18 by the explosions that lit up the night sky. The fire and explosions caused residents to flee their homes for safety as officials frantically attempted to extinguish the fire.

The blasts, which began just before midnight, shook buildings in the area and flung ammunition from the military ammunition depot with an explosive force, according to reports.

One resident, Oumar Mahamat, said residents thought the explosions were an attack. Another resident, Moustapha Adoum Mahamat, said the house shook “as if someone were shooting at us,” adding that they “could see artillery fly over us.”

Authorities asked that residents stay out of the area as security forces were gathering the scattered artillery shells.

President Mahamat Deby Itno said that the cause of the fire was unclear, but authorities will investigate how the fire and explosions occurred.

Seventeen buildings at the military ammunition depot were destroyed, according to satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies. The images show that the destroyed buildings were located at opposite ends of the complex.

The fire and explosions come as Chad, home to 18 million people, has faced political turmoil due to a controversial presidential election that resulted in the election of Deby Itno, who has been the country’s interim president since his father died in 2021. An Africa expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Cameron Hudson, questioned if the fire and explosions were “entirely coincidental” as it “feels more like a message” to the government.

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