Equatorial Guinea death toll rises to 98


At least 98 people have been killed and more than 600 wounded in a huge series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea, it has been reported.


The death toll, updated after volunteers spent Monday searching the wreckage for bodies, is more than triple the initial estimate of 31.


The blasts hit a military base in the country's main city, Bata. Officials blame badly stored dynamite along with stubble burning by nearby farmers.


State television showed a huge plume of smoke rising above the site of the blast, thought to be from at least five explosions, as crowds fled.


The health ministry tweeted that workers were treating the injured at the site of the tragedy and in medical facilities, but feared people were still buried under the rubble.


Bata is the largest city, with around 800,000 of the nation’s 1.4 million population living there – most of them in poverty. While it sits on the mainland, the capital Malabo is on Bioko, one of the country’s islands off the west African coast.


The opposition party, the CPDS, described the blasts as "the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in the history of Equatorial Guinea" and called on Spain, France and the United States to send aid, including rescue teams, medical staff and medicines.


Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez tweeted on Monday that Spain would "proceed with the immediate dispatch of a shipment of humanitarian aid".



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