An explosion caused by the accident of a truck carrying explosives for a mine killed at least 17 people and injured 59 on Thursday (January 20th) and devastated a town in western Ghana.

The explosion occurred around noon on Thursday in Apiate, not far from Bogoso, a mining town in the Western Region, about 300 kilometers west of Accra, the capital of the resource-rich West African country. mineral.

Videos authenticated by AFP show a large crater, blown up houses and debris sprinkling the ground for hundreds of meters.

Several lifeless bodies, some dismembered, are visible and bear witness to the violence of the explosion. 

According to the first elements of the investigation, it is "an accident involving a truck transporting explosive materials for a mining company, a motorcycle and a third vehicle which took place near an electrical transformer and led to the explosion" , Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah said in a statement released overnight from Thursday to Friday.

Of the 59 injured, 42 were taken care of in health centers, some "in critical condition", said the minister.

All surrounding hospitals have been mobilised, and a plan has been activated to evacuate those in critical condition to Accra.

"Ghost town"

"It's Black Thursday. So far, 500 houses have been affected. Some have been completely flattened by the blast while others have developed cracks," Sedzi Sadzi told AFP in the evening. Amedonu, Deputy Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization.

"It's almost like a ghost town now. Some houses have been burnt down, others have been covered in debris, and search and rescue operations are still ongoing," he added.

The survivors of the explosion, questioned by the local press, recounted scenes of desolation.

Like Abena Mintah, who explained that he ran to the scene of the accident to check if he could help rescue victims.

"The driver of the truck carrying the explosives ran towards us to tell us to stand down and a few minutes later we heard a loud bang," he said.

"I got dizzy and fell in the bush. I managed to get up and saw several dismembered bodies in the street," said the witness, who was slightly injured in his feet and hands. .

Evacuation

In order to avoid a second explosion, the authorities deployed a joint team of police and army experts.

They "will examine the situation and put in place security measures," the government said.

Authorities asked residents to move away from the site of the explosion and evacuate to surrounding villages.

Schools and churches were opened for them to spend the night there.

At the end of the afternoon, the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo had deplored on Twitter "a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic event", and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

Ghana is Africa's second largest gold producer, after South Africa.

The mining industry in this country involves both big global players but also artisanal mining activities, many of them illegal. 

With AFP

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