President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has been criticised for enjoying a lavishly wealthy lifestyle while the majority of residents in Equatorial Guinea live in poverty. Source: Flickr.
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  • A series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday has left at least 20 people dead and more than 600 others wounded
  • President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said the incident was due to the “negligent handling of dynamite”
  • The defence ministry added that a fire at a weapons depot, which may have been caused by residents burning the surrounding fields, caused the explosion of high-calibre ammunition
  • People are currently being treated at three different hospitals, although others are thought to still be buried beneath the rubble
  • Equatorial Guinea, which has a population of around 1.4 million people has so far reported 6329 COVID-19 infections and 96 deaths

A series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday has left at least 20 people dead and more than 600 others wounded.

According to President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the incident, which occurred at around 4:00 pm local time, was due to the “negligent handling of dynamite” in the barracks, located in the neighbourhood of Mondong Nkuantoma in Bata.

“The impact of the explosion caused damage in almost all the houses and buildings in Bata,” he said in a statement.

The defence ministry added that a fire at a weapons depot, which may have been caused by residents burning the surrounding fields, caused the explosion of high-calibre ammunition, and said that a full investigation would be carried out.

Images on local media showed people screaming and crying, running through the streets amid debris and smoke. Roofs of houses were ripped off and wounded people were being carried into a hospital.

The Health Ministry quickly made a call for blood donors and volunteer health workers to go to the Regional Hospital de Bata, one of three hospitals treating the wounded. People were also treated at the site of the explosion, where others are thought to be buried in the rubble.

Foreign Minister Simeón Oyono Esono Angue met with foreign ambassadors and asked for aid.

“It is important for us to ask our brother countries for their assistance in this lamentable situation since we have a health emergency (due to COVID-19) and the tragedy in Bata,” he said.

Equatorial Guinea, which has a population of around 1.4 million people — 175,000 in Bata — has so far reported 6329 COVID-19 infections and 96 deaths.

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