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Explosions and fire at military ammunition depot in Chad's capital cause fatalities


N'DJAMENA, Chad (AP) — Explosions and fire at a military ammunition depot in Chad’s capital caused fatalities and set off frantic efforts to put out the fire and treat the wounded, authorities and witnesses said Wednesday.

The explosions late Tuesday at the depot in N’Djamena lit up the sky as thick smoke covered the clouds in the West African nation.

The fire “caused human and material damage,” President Mahamat Deby Itno posted on Facebook. “Peace to the souls of the victims, sincere condolences to the bereaved families and quick recovery to the injured.”

He did not give the number of fatalities.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, and the president said an investigation would be conducted.

People living in the area panicked, thinking the explosion was an armed attack, resident Oumar Mahamat said.

The situation was later brought under control with security and health officials deployed in the area, government spokesperson Abderaman Koulamallah said. He urged residents to remain calm.

Local media reported the blasts started just before midnight and lasted more than 30 minutes as nearby buildings shook and ammunition was thrown from the depot with explosive force.

Authorities called on residents to stay out of the area, which was taken over by security forces gathering the scattered artillery shells.

Allamine Moussa, a resident, called on the government to “come to our aid urgently” after he and other residents fled their homes.

“Many families have recorded deaths and it’s sad,” Moussa said.

Chad, a country of nearly 18 million people, has been reeling from political turmoil before and after a controversial presidential election that resulted in Deby Itno’s victory. He had led the country as interim president during the period of military rule that followed the death of his father in 2021.

The explosion might not be entirely coincidental and “feels more like a message” to the government in Chad, which has been embroiled in both an internal political crisis with the recent election as well as regional tensions with the war in neighboring Sudan, according to Cameron Hudson, an Africa expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Recent claims about Chad's alleged involvement put the country “on both sides of the war in Sudan and creates an untenable position at home for Deby,” said Hudson, a former U.S. official. “A house divided cannot stand.”


Asadu reported from Abuja, Nigeria.