At least 17 people are killed and hundreds more injured as army barrack explosions rip through city in Equatorial Guinea

By REUTERS and CHARLOTTE MITCHELL FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 14:04 EST, 7 March 2021 

Hundreds are injured and more than a dozen dead after a series of large explosions rocked the city of Bata in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday. 

At least 17 people have been killed and some 420 injured in the blasts, the Ministry of Education said, citing hospital reports. 

‘Many’ more are feared dead or trapped under rubble, the ministry said in a series of tweets on Sunday which included an appeal for blood donations and for voluntary health workers to go to the Bata Regional Hospital.

The cause of the blasts is unknown but the health ministry said the explosions had happened at a military base in the city’s Mondong Nkuantoma de Bata neighbourhood.

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Hundreds are injured and more than a dozen dead after a series of large explosions rocked the city of Bata in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday 

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At least 17 people have been killed and some 420 injured in the blasts, the Ministry of Education said, citing hospital reports Community in Bata levelled as aftermath of explosions laid bareLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time2:30FullscreenNeed Text

Deutsche Welle, citing local witnesses, reported that there were four blasts, which began at 1pm local time.

Local television showed groups of people pulling bodies from under piles of rubble. Some of the bodies were carried away wrapped in bed sheets. 

Hospitals in the central African nation are reportedly overwhelmed, with local media footage showing pick-up trucks filled with survivors, many of whom were children, drive up to the front of a local hospital where some victims were seen lying on the floor.  

In the blast area, iron roofs were ripped off half-destroyed houses and lay twisted amid the rubble, Reuters news agency reported. Only a wall or two remained of most residences. People ran in all directions, many of them screaming.Equatorial Guinea FM appeals for international help after blasts

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The cause of the blasts is unknown but the health ministry said the explosions had happened at a military base in the city’s Mondong Nkuantoma de Bata neighbourhood

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In the blast area, iron roofs were ripped off half-destroyed houses and lay twisted amid the rubble, Reuters news agency reported. Only a wall or two remained of most residencesSmoke rises after explosion in Equatorial Guinea leaves 20 deadLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:29FullscreenNeed Text

A column of smoke reached into the sky and around its base firefighters sought to calm the blaze. 

Unverified videos shared on Twitter and claiming to have been filmed from near the blast site showed plumes of smoke rising into the sky and debris from buildings littering the roadside.

In one clip, people could be heard screaming as the camera panned between roofless buildings.  

A local resident told Spanish news agency EFE that there were soldiers on the street and telephone lines appeared to be down. 

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Unverified videos shared on Twitter and claiming to have been filmed from near the blast site showed plumes of smoke rising into the sky and debris from buildings littering the roadside

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Local media reported that the vice president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue had arrived at the scene of the explosionSmoke seen after explosion in Equatorial GuineaLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:44FullscreenNeed Text

Local media reported that the vice president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue had arrived at the scene of the explosion.

‘Pain has hit Equatorial Guinea again right in the middle of its fight against the coronavirus pandemic with explosions this Sunday in the Rapid Intervention Barracks in Nkoantoma, in city of Bata. From here, I express my sincere grief for the victims,’ the vice president tweeted. 

‘Following developments in Equatorial Guinea with concern after the explosions in the city of Bata,’ said Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya on Twitter.

The Spanish Embassy in Malabo encouraged its nationals to stay in their homes.

The blast comes as Equatorial Guinea, an oil producer, is suffering a double economic shock linked to the coronavirus pandemic and a drop in the price of crude, which provides around three-quarters of state revenue. 

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