Another Petrol Tanker Explodes In Omagba, Onitsha

Barely 48 hours after a petrol tanker exploded at Upper Iweka, Onitsha another tanker explosion has occurred along the Enugu/Onitsha Expressway near Omagba, Anambra State.

The fuel-laden tanker according to eyewitnesses fell at Bessoy Filling Station Bus Stop around 3:00 am spilling its contents. The contents then flowed through an underground tunnel into Heritage Street, Omagba where it eventually exploded.

Properties including earthmoving machines, two residential buildings, and several business outlets were gutted by the fire. Vehicles numbering about 15 were destroyed in the fire.

Before the intervention of emergency service operatives from Anambra State Fire Service, residents trooped out en-masse and lent support to quench the fire.

Presently, no death has been recorded but residents decry the huge losses caused by the fire accident.

Meanwhile, another petrol tanker has also lost control and fallen along Agulu road this morning creating panic among residents in the area.

See more photos from the fire accident below…

12 Injured In Cyprus Hotel Explosion

A grab taken from a video provided by a guest of the Acapulco hotel in Kyrenia (Girne) in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), north of the divided Cypriot capital Nicosia, shows fire and smoke billowing from the site of a military depot which exploded nearby, on September 11, 2019. Ali Akyuz / AFP

 

A string of nighttime explosions at a Turkish military base in northern Cyprus damaged a nearby seaside hotel and injured 12 people Thursday, prompting the evacuation of terrified tourists, officials said.

The blasts rang out at intervals over a three-hour period in the arms depot at the base in Catalkoy, west of the town of Kyrenia, sparking a fire.

The luxury Acapulco Hotel was damaged, with windows shattered and ceilings collapsed, and guests evacuated to a safe area.

Turkish Cypriot authorities said 12 people were injured, two of whom remained in hospital several hours later. A probe was launched to determine the cause of the blasts.

The Kyrenia area on the north coast lies within a breakaway state that Turkish Cypriot leaders declared in 1983 but which remains recognised only by Ankara.

The island has been divided on ethnic lines since Turkish troops occupied its northern third in 1974 following a Greek Cypriot coup.

Turkey continues to maintain a sizeable military presence in the north.

Officials in northern Cyprus said on July 1 that a suspected stray Russian missile had exploded just outside the divided island’s capital during an Israeli air raid in Syria, without causing casualties.

AFP

Taliban Kill At Least Five People In ‘Horrifying’ Attack In Kabul

 

The Taliban killed at least five people in a fresh bombing in Kabul on Thursday in yet another horrific attack on the Afghan capital as the US and the insurgents negotiate a deal to see American troops leave the country.

The blast shook Shash Darak, a heavily fortified area adjacent to the Green Zone and home to several important complexes including the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan intelligence service.

The morning attack was also close to where the Islamic State group killed nine journalists in a blast in April last year, including AFP chief photographer Shah Marai.

Farid Ahmad Karimi, general manager at Wazir Akbar Khan hospital close to the bomb site, told AFP that five bodies and 25 wounded people had been brought into the facility.

“There are both civilians and security personal among dead and wounded. Five of the wounded are women,” Karimi said.

On Twitter, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying a “martyrdom seeker” — suicide bomber — had triggered the car bomb.

Massoud Zazai, who owns a photo studio across the street from the blast site, said he was in his shop when the explosion happened.

“I fell off my chair and it got dark inside the shop because of smoke and dust,” Zazai told AFP.

“I went out to the scene moments after the attack, the side of the road was littered with debris and bodies.”

Through the smoke, Zazai said he could hear injured people crying and calling for their mothers and brothers.

“I saw at least five very badly injured, one was covered in blood and not moving. It was horrifying.”

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the blast had been caused by a car bomb at about 10:10 am (0540 GMT).

Growing unease

On Monday, at least 16 people were killed in a Taliban attack on a residential area in east Kabul.

The capital has been gripped by a surge in deadly violence even after the US and the Taliban reached an agreement “in principle” that would see the Pentagon pull thousands of troops from Afghanistan in return for various Taliban security promises.

But there is increasing unease about the deal, with Afghans fearing it will lead to a return of the Taliban to power, and a growing chorus of US lawmakers and officials expressing doubts.

According to parts of the deal made public so far, the Pentagon would pull about 5,000 of its 13,000 or so troops from five bases across Afghanistan by early next year, provided the Taliban hew to their security pledges.

The insurgents have said they will renounce Al-Qaeda, fight the Islamic State group and stop jihadists using Afghanistan as a safe haven.

On Wednesday, the Afghan government expressed doubts about the prospective deal, saying officials need more information about the risks it poses.

Even as negotiations for an accord have entered what are widely considered to be the final stages, violence has surged across Afghanistan.

On Saturday, the Taliban attempted to seize the provincial capital of Kunduz in the north and sporadic fighting has continued on the outskirts all week, while on Sunday, insurgents launched an operation in the city of Pul-e Khumri, the capital of neighbouring Baghlan province.

Death Toll From Tanzania Tanker Explosion Hits 100

 

A Tanzanian security officer controls the area where the carcass of a burnt out fuel tanker is seen along the side of the road following an explosion on August 10, 2019, AFP

 

The death toll from a fuel truck explosion in Tanzania on August 10 hit 100 on Wednesday after several victims perished from severe burns.

Aminiel Aligaesha, a spokesman for the National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, told reporters “two people died on Tuesday during the day, and another on Tuesday night”, bringing the total number of dead to 100.

Officials had put the tally at 95 on Sunday, and another two people were announced dead on Monday.

At least 30 of the victims died in the days after the accident, in which a fireball engulfed a crowd thronging to collect petrol from an overturned tanker near Morogoro, 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of Dar es Salaam.

Officials said the explosion was triggered when a man tried to take the truck’s battery, creating sparks that ignited the fuel.

A doctor at the hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that most of those who survived the initial blast had suffered burns on over 80 per cent of their body.

“We are doing our best, but most of them are in critical condition,” said the doctor.

Many of the victims are motorbike taxi drivers who rushed to the scene to try to siphon off leaking petrol.

It was the latest in a string of such disasters in Africa and at least the third this year.

Last month, 45 people were killed and more than 100 injured in central Nigeria when a petrol tanker crashed and then exploded as people tried to take the fuel.

In May, a similar incident in Niger killed nearly 80 people.

In the worst tragedy, 292 people lost their lives in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in July 2010, while in September 2015 at least 203 people died the South Sudan town of Maridi.

AFP

17 ‘Terrorists’ Killed In Egypt Operation Linked To Car Blast

 

Egyptian security forces killed 17 “terrorists” on Thursday during an operation against suspects in last weekend’s deadly car blast in Cairo that claimed some 20 lives.

The interior ministry said the 17 killed belonged to the Hasm group, an armed affiliate of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has called the collision between several vehicles in Cairo a “terrorist act” as one of the cars was loaded with explosives.

The collision happened just before midnight Sunday, when a speeding car packed with explosives drove against the traffic and crashed into three other vehicles outside the National Cancer Institute in the Egyptian capital.

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According to the health ministry, at least 20 people were killed in the collision.

The Hasm group was “behind the preparations of the vehicle” that caused the explosion, the interior ministry said in a statement.

It added that it had identified the suicide driver of the vehicle as a member of Hasm.

Security forces were able to “locate members of a Hasm cell” and killed 17 of them, including the brother of the suicide car bomber, during operations in Cairo and in Faiyum, south of the capital, the ministry said.

It was not immediatedly clear if the Hasm cell and the 17 people were directly involved in Sunday’s deadly collision.

Since 2016 the Hasm group has claimed responsibility for several attacks against police, officials and judges in Cairo.

Car Crash Kills At Least 19 In Cairo

People gather near an ambulance at the scene of an accident that took place just before midnight on August 4, outside the National Cancer Institute in the Egyptian capital Cairo. PHOTO: Aly FAHIM / AFP

 

At least 19 people have been killed when a speeding car driving against traffic crashed into three others causing a huge explosion in Cairo, the Egyptian health ministry said on Monday.

The car crash happened just before midnight Sunday outside the National Cancer Institute in central Cairo and also wounded 30 people, the ministry added.

Between “three and four (of the injured) are in critical condition in the intensive care unit,” Khaled Megahed, a spokesman for the health ministry, told an early Monday news conference.

He said they suffered from “several burns of varying degrees”.

Body parts were also retrieved from the scene, he added.

Social media users posted footage of cars ablaze at the scene and of patients being evacuated from the Cancer Institute.

Egypt’s prosecutor general has ordered an investigation to determine the causes of the crash.

Deadly road accidents owing to driver error and dilapidated infrastructure are common in Egypt with over 3000 killed in more than 8400 crashes in 2018, according to official figures published earlier this year.

AFP

Explosion Kills Policemen In Egypt

Egyptian riot police block access to the street where the body of a suicide bomber lay covered in a sheet behind al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo on February 19, 2019.  Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

An explosion in Cairo on Monday killed two policemen who were chasing a man believed to have targeted security staff near a mosque last week, Egypt’s interior ministry said.

“As security surrounded the man and was set to arrest and control him, an explosive device in his possession went off,” the ministry said.

The blast in the crowded Darb al-Ahmar district in downtown Cairo also killed the bomber and injured three other policemen.

The man was being pursued as part of “efforts to search for the perpetrator” responsible for planting an explosive device near security staff close to a mosque in Giza on Friday, the ministry said.

Security had been able to defuse that device, the ministry said.

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Monday’s explosion took place near Al Azhar mosque at the heart of ancient Islamic Cairo, damaging several shops.

The site was cordoned off and reporters were not immediately allowed access to the area.

“My shop’s front and windows were destroyed,” said Kareem Sayed Awad, a barbershop owner. “Not only that, but people have died. This is a tourist area and such incidents affect it.”

Egypt’s tourism industry has been struggling to recover from attacks and domestic instability that has hit the country in the years following a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

In December three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide died when a homemade bomb exploded on their bus on the outskirts of Cairo, near the famed pyramids in Giza.

Authorities have been seeking to lure tourists back by touting new archaeological discoveries and bolstering security around archaeological sites and in airports.

Tourism has slowly started picking up. The official statistics agency says tourist arrivals in Egypt in 2017 reached 8.3 million, up from 5.3 million the year before.

But that figure was still far short of the record influx in 2010 when over 14 million visitors flocked to the country.

Egypt has also for years been battling an Islamist insurgency, which deepened following the military’s ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The attacks have been mainly concentrated in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula but have also spread to the mainland.

In February 2018, security forces launched a major anti-militant operation focused on the Sinai Peninsula, aimed at wiping out a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

On Saturday, an attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint in north Sinai left 15 soldiers dead or wounded and seven of the suspected jihadist assailants killed, according to the military.

AFP

Mexico Fuel Explosion Death Toll Rises To 107

 

The death toll from a fiery pipeline explosion in central Mexico reached 107 Thursday, the government announced, with 40 people also injured in the blast last week.

Last Friday, the fuel-line in Hidalgo state was deliberately punctured, drawing hundreds of people looking to gather gasoline before it ignited.

The disaster occurred as the government wages a huge effort to clamp down on fuel theft, which costs Mexico an estimated $3 billion in 2017.

So-called “huachicol” — as the stolen fuel is known in Mexico — costs about half of market price.

Mexico is regularly rocked by deadly explosions at illegal pipeline taps, a dangerous but lucrative business whose players include powerful drug cartels and corrupt Pemex insiders.

AFP

At Least 65 Killed In Taliban Attack On Afghan Intel Base – Sources

File Photo: Taliban Insurgents

 

At least 65 people were killed in a Taliban-claimed attack on an Afghan intelligence base, security sources said Tuesday, raising the toll substantially from 12 announced previously.

Militants detonated a vehicle packed with explosives at the training facility before gunmen arrived in a car and opened fire.

“We took about 65 bodies out of the rubble yesterday,” Mohammad Sardar Bakhyari, Deputy Head of the provincial council in Wardak province, where the attack occurred on Monday in the latest blow to beleaguered security forces.

A senior security official who spoke on condition of anonymity gave an even higher toll of at least 70 killed.

On Monday provincial officials told AFP just 12 people had been killed in the attack. Figures given by officials to other media ranged from 12 dead to more than 100 killed.

Bakhyari’s announcement came after nearly a day of confusion surrounding the toll.

On Monday provincial officials told AFP just 12 people had been killed in the attack. Figures given by officials to other media ranged from 12 dead to more than 100 killed.

The attack was on a training facility for the NDS, the Afghan intelligence agency, meaning that any toll will likely be difficult to confirm.

It saw militants ram a Humvee filled with explosives into the National Directorate of Security (NDS) base in Maidan Shahr, the capital of Wardak, which lies about 50 kilometres south of Kabul.

The attack caused the roof to partially collapse, images from the scene show.

“Then at least three other attackers in a Toyota car who were following the Humvee entered the compound,” Wardak provincial council member Abdul Wahid Akbarzai told AFP Tuesday.

The attackers were killed quickly, he said, but most of the casualties were caused by the roof collapse.

“It is a big loss,” council head Akhtar Mohammad Tahiri said. “The NDS forces are better trained and equipped than the Afghan police and army soldiers who have been dying in record numbers.”

He added the militants were dressed in uniforms used by Afghan special forces.

The attack comes days after a Taliban suicide bomber targeted the convoy of Logar province’s governor, killing at least seven security guards.

Fights between security forces and Taliban fighters have continued to intensify across the country during the freezing Afghan winter, which traditionally experiences a reduction in combat.

The recent skirmishes come as the Taliban announced a resumption of talks with US officials in Qatar as the two sides discuss a possible peace deal that could pave the way for the insurgents’ participation in the next government.

Washington has not confirmed their claim that the talks are continuing.

US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has headed a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months seeking to bring the Taliban to the table for talks.

However, the insurgents threatened to suspend the fledgeling process last week.

The Taliban — who have been waging a 17-year war against the Western-backed Afghan government — later claimed responsibility for the assault.

Death Toll From Mexico Fuel Explosion Rises To 89

 

The death toll from a fiery explosion in central Mexico rose to 89 on Monday as authorities vowed to hold accountable those responsible for a deliberate fuel-line puncture that drew hundreds of people looking to gather gasoline before it ignited.

The search for human remains at the site of the explosion in the state of Hidalgo ended late Saturday. While families began to bury the dead, officials indicated the death toll could still rise.

In a press conference on Monday, Health Minister Jorge Alcocer said: “We’ve had four more deaths on top of the 85 announced, now we’re at 89.”

He had said on Sunday that on top of the confirmed deaths, another 58 people were hospitalized in Hidalgo, while others in worse conditions had been moved to Mexico City for specialized treatment.

Family members of the victims have called on the government to continue looking for remains and to bring back forensic experts for that purpose.

Funerals already have begun, but the handover of remains has been slow because many of the victims were burned beyond recognition.

The Hidalgo state prosecutor said 54 of the dead could not be readily identified, and require DNA analysis.

Mourners began arriving little by little at the home of one of the victims, while in the adjacent street a hearse carried another corpse.

“He’s gone forever,” sobbed a woman as the remains of Cesar Jimenez were transferred to a church for a funeral mass attended by dozens of relatives and friends.

At a cultural centre, loved ones publicly displayed pictures of the missing.

“We are sick and tired of searching around in every hospital,” said Moises Mejia, trying to find his missing wife Karina Ugalde and her sister Angelica.

“We gave some DNA from their dad to see if they are in (nearby) Tula. We want them to search more (near the blast and fire). Why did they go and move all that dirt over there?” he asked.

Another man, Antonio Garcia, wandered about searching for his nephew Lupillo, 17.

“I don’t know what he was thinking going over there,” he said. “I would always see him buying his gas (at stations). I don’t understand why he’d go over there to steal it.”

 A torrent of fuel 

Hundreds of people had been drawn to the place where suspected fuel thieves tapped into a pipeline in the town of Tlahuelilpan.

Images captured by local media showed a torrent of fuel escaping from a pipeline as people converged on the site with buckets and jerrycans to collect gasoline.

A massive explosion engulfed the area in flames, and local media showed images of people screaming as they fled, their clothes in flames, some with severe burns.

Asked whether those hospitalized would be considered suspects, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz said investigators do not seek to “victimize the communities.”

“We are going to find those responsible for actions that generated this tragedy,” he said. “Victimizing the whole population is not (the investigation’s) function nor is it established in the law.”

The disaster came during a crackdown by the new government of President Manuel Lopez Obrador on the lucrative illegal business of fuel thefts, which triggered shortages of gasoline.

On Friday, when authorities heard that fuel traffickers had punctured the pipeline, about 25 soldiers arrived and attempted to block off the area, Defense Secretary Luis Crescencio Sandoval told reporters.

But the soldiers were unable to contain the estimated 700 civilians — including entire families — who swarmed in to collect the spilled gasoline, witnesses said.

The armed soldiers had been moved away from the pipeline to avoid any risk of confrontation with the crowd when the blast occurred, about two hours after the pipeline was first breached, Sandoval said.

Lopez Obrador, a leftist who took office only weeks ago, travelled to the scene on Saturday.

He did not fault the soldiers, saying: “The attitude of the army was correct. It is not easy to impose order on a crowd.” He vowed to continue fighting the growing problem of fuel theft.

“I am deeply saddened by the suffering in Tlahuelilpan,” Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter. He called on his “whole government” to extend assistance.

AFP

Mexico Fuel-Pipe Blaze Death Toll Rises To 66 – Governor

 

An explosion and fire has killed at least 66 people who were collecting fuel gushing from a leaking pipeline in central Mexico, the Hidalgo state governor said on Saturday.

“The toll that we have until a few minutes ago… is 66 dead, while 76 are injured,” said the governor, Omar Fayad.

Forensic specialists on Saturday worked among the charred corpses at the scene, which was guarded by soldiers as a smell of fuel still hung in the air.

Scores of locals with jerrycans and buckets had been collecting gasoline that was gushing from the pipeline when the blast occurred on Friday, according to witnesses.

Video taken in the aftermath showed people fleeing the scene, screaming for help, as an enormous fire lit up the night sky in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo state, 65 miles (105 kilometres) north of Mexico City.

The tragedy comes as the federal government wages a highly publicized war on fuel theft, a problem that cost Mexico an estimated $3 billion in 2017.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador travelled to the scene in the early hours of Saturday.

AFP

Fuel Pipeline Blaze In Mexico Kills 21, Injures Dozens

 

A massive fire broke out at an illegal pipeline tap in central Mexico on Friday, killing at least 21 people and injuring 71 more, just as the government wages a major crack-down on fuel theft.

Scores of locals with jerry cans and buckets had been collecting gasoline that was gushing from a leaking pipeline when an explosion occurred, according to witnesses.

Video taken in the aftermath showed desperate people fleeing the scene, screaming for help, as the enormous fire lit up the night sky in Tlahuelilpan, in Hidalgo state, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Mexico City.

“I went just to see what was happening, and then the explosion happened. I rushed to help people,” said Fernando Garcia, 47. “I had to claw through pieces of people who had already been burned to bits,” he told AFP.

The tragedy comes as the federal government is waging a highly publicized war on fuel theft, a problem that cost Mexico an estimated $3 billion in 2017.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador traveled to the scene in the early hours of Saturday.

“I am deeply saddened by the suffering in Tlahuelilpan caused by the explosion of a pipeline,” the leftist leader earlier wrote on Twitter.

“I call on the whole government to assist people there.”

Federal and state firefighters and ambulances run by state oil company Pemex rushed to help victims with burns and take the wounded to hospitals.

The flood of patients overflowed local clinics and hospitals, said AFP correspondents at the scene.

Security Minister Alfonso said around midnight that the fire had been brought under control.

Pemex said it was also responding to another fire at a botched pipeline tap in the central state of Queretaro, though in that case there were no victims.

Mexico is regularly rocked by deadly explosions at illegal pipeline taps, a dangerous but lucrative business whose players include powerful drug cartels and corrupt Pemex insiders.

 

Rampant fuel theft

The tragedy comes as anti-corruption crusader Lopez Obrador presses implementation of a controversial fuel theft prevention plan.

The government has shut off key pipelines until they can be fully secured and deployed the army to guard Pemex production facilities.

But the strategy to fight the problem led to severe gasoline and diesel shortages across much of the country, including Mexico City, forcing people to queue for hours — sometimes days — to fill up their vehicles.

The president, who took office on December 1, has vowed to keep up the fight and asked Mexicans to be patient.

At the scene, some locals blamed the shortages for the tragedy.

“A lot of people arrived with their jerry cans, because of the gasoline shortages we’ve had,” said Martin Trejo, 55, who was desperately searching for his son, one of those who had gone to collect the leaking fuel.

Under Lopez Obrador’s crackdown, authorities have opened 1,700 individual investigations for fuel theft and related money laundering.

Tanker trucks are being used to deliver fuel, but experts say there are not nearly enough of them.

Mexico City residents faced a second week of fuel shortages this week, though lines at service stations were shorter than the previous week.

Mexican bank Citibanamex estimated Wednesday that the shortages would cost Latin America’s second-largest economy around $2 billion, “if conditions return to normal in the coming days.”

The roots of the fuel theft problem run deep in Mexico, where the practice — known locally as “huachicoleo,” or moonshining — is big business for some communities.

Lopez Obrador so far retains broad support: 89 percent of Mexicans back his crackdown, and his approval rating has even ticked up slightly, to 76 percent, according to a poll published Monday by newspaper El Financiero.

Below are some more photos from the incident.