Benin Republic: Families mourn victims of depot blast

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The mood in the Seme-Krake neighborhood of Benin’s capital Cotonou is still sombre as families mourn their dead who perished in a fire which gutted a contraband fuel depot on Saturday.

There was still a heavy security presence in the area, one man said he had lost four family members in the blaze.

“We don’t know where the fire started and there were a lot of people in the warehouse. I myself have four members of my family who perished in the flames. My younger brother – same father, same mother and his eldest son, my brother’s wife and my brother-in-law’s wife,” said Antoine Djanta, a shopkeeper.

Benin is a major destination for smuggled fuel from Neighbouring Nigeria.

Fire accidents at illegal refineries, pipelines and fuel dumps are common in Nigeria too.

Many Beninese make a living from selling contraband fuel.

A decision in May by Nigeria’s government to end a fuel subsidy caused a dramatic rise in prices, increasing the appetite for smuggled fuel.


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