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An explosion at a fuel depot in Benin has resulted in the deaths of at least 35 people.
The catastrophe occurred on Saturday in Seme-Podji, located near the Nigeria border, where many gathered to obtain fuel.
Prosecutor Abdoubaki Adam-Bongle reported, “The fire burned down the store and according to an initial assessment resulted in 35 deaths, including one child.” The prosecutor added that they believe the fire may have occurred “during the unloading of bags of gasoline.”
Benin’s Interior Minister, Alassane Seidou, pinpointed the illicit fuel trade as the underlying cause, mentioning that the blaze had rendered many victims “badly charred.”
Illicit fuel operations, such as refineries and dumps, are rampant along the Benin-Nigeria border, occasionally leading to fires. Semevo Nounagnon, a nearby resident and bike driver, said there was always activity at the fuel warehouse, with vehicles arriving throughout the day.