A bomb blast that happened at a military barrack in Bata, a city in Equatorial Guinea, led to the death of 105 people and injured at least 600 people. Human rights organizations say the death toll is higher than the official number.
Human rights organizations have also called for an inquiry into how the blast happened. The cause of the blast has been traced to explosives that were stored in the barracks armory.
Equatorial Guinea's president blames the blast on farmers
According to the statement released by President Obiang Nguema, the blast was caused by the fires set by farmers to clear the land. He added that the farmers lost control of the fire, which in turn triggered the explosives in their warehouse.
Nguema also blamed the actions of the team that was responsible for safeguarding the explosives. But his account of the events is different from the accounts given by the locals in the area.
According to a Human rights group, the fire was started by soldiers that were clearing the bush surrounding the military barrack. Some accounts also allege that the explosion was a result of a training session gone wrong.
The bomb blast affected a lot of buildings in the area
The blast radius of the detonated explosives affected a lot of buildings in the area. According to videos shared on social media, the smoke from the explosion could be seen 6 km away from the blast site. The barrack was also destroyed in the blast.
The government is under fire for its careless handling of the explosives. There have also been concerns about the safety of the area, as many debris and dirt caused by the blast have not been cleared by the government.
Equatorial Guinea is not the only country to accidentally detonate explosives. The Beirut blast that happened last year occurred due to explosives that were not properly stored by the government. According to data from the Small Arms Survey, 242 accident explosions have occurred in the last ten years.