Several injured in Guinea fuel depot blast

Guinean authorities closed schools and urged workers to stay home in the capital Monday after a blaze erupted at the country’s main fuel depot, causing a number of injuries.

The explosion and accompanying fire in Conakry sent thick black clouds of smoke into the sky early Monday as residents fled the area where the blast occurred, images on social networks showed.

The blaze broke out shortly after midnight the near the port, according to local media and residents contacted by AFP.

“Private and public sector workers are asked to stay home” and “public and private schools have been closed”, the government said in a statement later Monday.

The cause of the fire is unknown, officials said, and its “scale and consequences could have a direct impact on the population”.

A doctor and local residents told AFP that dozens of people were injured.

“Dozens of injured people are arriving at two of Conakry’s main hospitals, Ignace Deen and Donka,” said Mamadouba Sylla, a surgeon at Donka hospital.

Service stations will remain closed, the government said, and “in the coming hours, a progress report will be issued and an investigation will be launched to establish the cause and those responsible.”

“Kaloum is burning. The port area is completely barricaded by the police, and firefighters are rushing towards the (site) of the disaster,” local resident Thierno Diallo told AFP by telephone.

“The power is completely cut off in the area,” Diallo, who identified himself as a customs officer, said.