Guinea’s Fuel Depot Explosion: Death Toll Reaches 23 as Protests Erupt Over Fuel Shortages
The death toll from the explosion and fire at Guinea’s main fuel depot has risen to 23, according to the government’s latest update on Thursday. The incident, which occurred in the port area of Kaloum in Conakry, caused extensive damage and brought the local economy to a standstill.
In addition to the fatalities, the government reported 241 injuries, with 167 individuals having been discharged from hospitals and 74 still receiving medical treatment. The authorities also noted that a significant number of people are missing, prompting ongoing investigations.
Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, the leader of Guinea’s ruling military, declared a three-day national mourning period starting on Thursday to honor the victims of the explosion and fire.
The aftermath of the incident has left many households displaced, further exacerbating the country’s economic challenges. While diesel supplies have resumed, the distribution of petrol remains suspended, and restrictions on tanker operations persist.
The scarcity of petrol has led to confrontations between security forces and groups of young people protesting the lack of fuel at service stations in Conakry. These clashes have involved stone-throwing by the youths and the deployment of tear gas by the security forces. The protesters, mainly relying on motorbike taxi fares for their livelihoods, are demanding the immediate reopening of service stations for all types of fuel.
Amid the crisis, there have been concerns raised by NGOs about the censorship of certain private media outlets and restrictions on access to social networks. The Guinean Organisation for the Defence of Human and Citizens’ Rights has called on the authorities to restore access to social networks and private media, emphasizing their role in providing crucial information to the public.
The ongoing challenges in Guinea have underscored the broader issue of internet and social media restrictions, which have occurred intermittently throughout the year. Additionally, there have been instances where private TV channels were suspended by the Haute Autorité de la Communication for reasons related to national security.