Anger and Destruction in Ndjamena Following Ammunition Depot Explosion

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An unknown cause ignited a devastating fire at an ammunition depot near the center of Ndjamena, Chad on Tuesday evening, June 18th, at around 10:30 PM local time. The explosion resulted in nine deaths and 46 injuries, according to government reports. President Mahamat Idriss Deby has pledged “measures” in response, including a full investigation and state-sponsored medical care for the injured.

By dawn, the once-standing ammunition depot was reduced to a vast crater amid a field of ruins. Prime Minister Allah-Maye Halina inspected the damage, offering reassurances to the citizens: “I want to assure the Chadian population, especially those in Ndjamena, that the situation is under control. People can go about their daily activities.”

The neighborhood surrounding the depot bore the brunt of the explosion. Homes were left gutted, and the ground was littered with munitions. Ahmat Abakar, a 24-year-old government employee, described the scene at his shattered house: “The door, the windows… Everything is broken. This is where I was sleeping. There was damage and noise, especially the sound of shells. We were scared. Many fled in the night.” The roof was torn apart, and windows shattered from the shockwave. A young girl was injured, with bloodstains marking the spot where she had slept.

Residents like Oumar Issa are seething with anger: “We feared this for a long time in a city surrounded by military camps. Two years ago, we requested the relocation of this camp, but nothing was done. Now, everything is destroyed.” Ahmat Abakar echoed these sentiments, stressing that the tragedy could have been prevented. “This isn’t the first time. It happened in 2017, and now again. The state should have taken action. The people have long demanded the camp’s relocation out of the city, but we were ignored. The material damage is considerable.”

In a press conference, the Minister of the Armed Forces promised to build more secure storage facilities and relocate those too close to the city center. “Studies have already been conducted. I cannot reveal all details, but strategic camps will be moved.”

To address the widespread scattering of munitions, the Ministry of Security has set up an emergency hotline to assist the monumental task faced by deminers.

This incident highlights the urgent need for improved safety measures and responsiveness to public concerns to prevent future disasters in densely populated areas.


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