At least eight people were killed and 84 injured following a blast at an oil terminal in Guinea’s capital Conakry early on Monday, a senior police officer told Reuters.
The officer said the toll was provisional, adding that the blaze was being contained.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
The blast at the West African nation’s only oil terminal, rocked the Kaloum administrative district in downtown Conakry, blowing out the windows of several nearby homes and forcing hundreds to flee the area, witnesses said.
AFP reports that the fire began not long after midnight.
A huge fire and billowing black smoke could be seen from miles away as firefighters rushed to the area, while several tanker trucks left the depot, escorted by soldiers and police.
In a statement, the government announced the closure of schools in the capital and urged workers to stay at home.
“Private and public sector workers are asked to stay home” and “public and private schools have been closed”, the statement said. The cause of the fire remains unknown, officials said, and its “scale and consequences could have a direct impact on the population”.
Guinea is not an oil producer and has no oil refining capacity. It imports refined products, which are mostly stored in the Kaloum terminal and distributed via trucks across the country. The extent of the damage to the terminal remains unclear.