At least nine killed after Chad ammunition depot fire triggers explosions

The death toll is expected to rise as many of the 46 injured are in an ‘extremely serious’ condition, official warns.

At least nine people have been killed and 46 injured after a fire triggered a series of blasts at a military ammunition depot in Chad’s capital N’Djamena.

Health Minister Abdelmadjid Abderahim told journalists on Wednesday that the toll was in danger of rising as many of the injured were in an “extremely serious” condition.

The fire began in N’Djamena’s Goudji district late on Tuesday and there had been “huge explosions”, Foreign Affairs Minister Koulamallah Abderaman wrote in a statement on Facebook.

“Peace to the souls of the victims, sincere condolences to the grieving families and a speedy recovery to the wounded,” President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno wrote on Facebook, promising to open an investigation into the fire.

Members of the Chadian security forces stand at the scene of the fire at a ammunition depot
A deadly fire erupted at a huge military ammunition depot in Chad’s capital N’Djamena, causing weapons to fire into the air [Joris Bolomey/AFP]

On social media, people posted images of spent artillery shells that had fallen in nearby homes.

“Loud blasts woke us up,” resident Moustapha Adoum Mahamat told the Reuters news agency. “Our house was shaking as if someone were shooting at us. Then we saw a big fire at the military camp and smoke and things exploding in the air. We could see artillery fly over us.”

Kadidja Dakou, who lives in the Amsinene area near Goudji, told the AFP news agency she had run out onto the street with her three children for fear their house would collapse. Her neighbours did the same.

“The roof of our house was blown off by one of the explosions,” the 36-year-old said.

There are multiple homes in the neighbourhood where the depot is located. It is also near the international airport and a base for French troops.

The blaze “caused explosions of ammunition of all calibres”, an official with the French forces told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Source: News Agencies