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Blaze kills 34 at illegal fuel depot in Benin

September 24, 2023

COTONOU: At least 34 people were killed when a contraband fuel dump burst into flames in southern Benin near the border with Nigeria, a government official said on Saturday.

“A serious fire occurred in the town of Seme Podji,” Interior Minister Alassane Seidou told reporters.

“Unfortunately we have 34 deaths including two babies. Their bodies are charred because the cause of the fire is smuggled fuel.”

The minister said another 20 people were being treated in hospital, including some in a serious condition. Nigeria is a major oil and gas producer and fuel smuggling is common along its borders, especially when the government maintained a subsidy to keep petrol prices low.