BREAKING NEWS: 34 die as fuel depot explodes in Benin Republic

At least 34 people have died as a result of an explosion at a fuel depot in Benin Republic, Alarabiya is reporting.

Citing an unnamed government official, the newspaper reported that the explosion happened on Saturday at a contraband fuel depot leaving dozens of charred bodies at the site.

The depot is located in the southern Benin town of Seme Podji, where cars, motorbikes and tricycle taxis come to stock up on fuel, according to residents.

Most of the fuel along this axis is smuggled into the Benin Republic from its oil-rich neighbour Nigeria, even though such activities are prohibited and seen as illegal.

Benin’s Interior Minister Alassane Seidou, speaking to reporters, described the explosion as a serious fire that had occurred in town. He gave no further details.

“Unfortunately we have 34 deaths including two babies. Their bodies are charred because the cause of the fire is smuggled fuel,” Alarabiya quoted him as saying.

The minister said another 20 people were being treated in hospital, including some in serious condition.

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