An illegal fuel depot in Benin exploded, killing dozens of people including a child. Photo/Illustration
PORTO NOVO – A explosion at what is believed to be an illegal fuel depot in southern Benin, killing at least 35 people and injuring several others on Saturday local time.
A Benin Justice Ministry statement shared by local radio station BIP Radio Cotonou put the death toll at 35, including a child.
It was said that the fire broke out at a shop, and initial investigations showed that the fire broke out while petrol bags were being unloaded from a vehicle.
French news agency AFP reported the explosion occurred at a smuggled fuel depot. It happened when car, motorbike and motorcycle taxi passengers lined up at the warehouse to stock up on fuel.
Benin’s Ministry of Justice offered its condolences to the families of those killed and announced an investigation had been launched into the “tragic” incident.
It said that it was working with all parties involved to identify the victims, many of whom were in a badly charred condition as reported by DW, Sunday (24/9/2023).
Benin is one of Nigeria’s neighbors and has a large fuel black market, with supplies smuggled from Africa’s most populous country.
As a major oil producer, fuel smuggling is common in both Nigeria and neighboring countries, which are home to illegal refineries, fuel dumps and even pipelines. This is due to fuel subsidies which make the costs much lower.