Explosions at Chad ammunition depot kill nine, injure dozens in capital

Incident highlights ongoing instability amidst political turmoil, regional tensions

News Desk June 19, 2024

Nine people were killed and more than 40 others were injured following explosions and a subsequent fire at a military ammunition depot in Chad's capital, N'Djamena, government spokesperson Abderaman Koulamallah confirmed on Wednesday.

The incident occurred late Tuesday night in the Goudji district of N'Djamena, with explosions lasting over 30 minutes and causing buildings to shake. Thick smoke engulfed the sky as the explosions threw ammunition from the depot with powerful force, according to local reports.

President Mahamat Deby Itno expressed condolences on Facebook, acknowledging the "human and material damage" caused by the fire. He pledged an investigation into the incident, though the exact cause of the fire remains unclear.

Residents in the area initially feared the explosions were the result of an armed attack, leading to panic among the population. Security and health personnel were swiftly deployed to the scene to manage the situation and provide assistance to those affected.

Government spokesperson Koulamallah reassured residents to remain calm as authorities worked to secure the area and gather scattered artillery shells. The explosions prompted an urgent call from local residents for government assistance, with many families reportedly facing fatalities.

Chad, a nation of nearly 18 million people, has been grappling with political instability, exacerbated by a controversial presidential election that saw Mahamat Deby Itno secure victory. The country is also navigating regional tensions, particularly in relation to the conflict in neighboring Sudan.

Cameron Hudson, an Africa expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggested the explosions could carry broader implications amid Chad's internal and external challenges. "The explosion might not be entirely coincidental and 'feels more like a message' to the government in Chad," he stated, referencing the country's complex political and regional dynamics.

As investigations continue into the cause of the explosions, the incident underscores ongoing vulnerabilities and challenges facing Chad's stability and security.


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