Illegal Refinery Explosion Claims 34 Lives And Injures 20 In Seme-Podji, Benin Republic

A catastrophic explosion at a fuel depot in the border town of Seme Podji, Benin Republic, has resulted in the tragic loss of at least 34 lives, including two infants, and left another 20 individuals injured.

This devastating blaze ignited on a fateful Saturday at a warehouse where smuggled fuel was clandestinely stored, casting a grim and ominous shroud of smoke into the sky. The aftermath painted a haunting scene with charred bodies scattered across the site.

Fuel smuggling remains a persistent issue within the country and along its borders, giving rise to illegal refineries, subterranean fuel repositories, and covert pipelines, all of which harbor substantial risks and perils. The precise cause of this calamitous fire is presently under scrutiny.

Amidst the chaos, Innocent Sidokpohou, a local carpenter, shared his harrowing experience: “I am still in shock. We heard people screaming for help. But the intensity of the flames was too formidable for anyone to approach. I had just obtained fuel for my motorbike to do some shopping. I left, and within a mere five meters, I heard an explosion. When I turned around, it was a wall of black smoke.”

Benin’s Interior Minister, Alassane Seidou, addressed the press, acknowledging the gravity of the fire but withholding specific details on the tragic incident’s genesis.

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