(Al Jazeera) A vehicle carrying explosives used in mining collided with a motorcycle and blew up in a town in western Ghana, leaving at least 17 people dead and injuring dozens, according to the government.
Videos from the scene posted on social media on Thursday showed a large blast area in Apiate, near the city of Bogoso some 300km (180 miles) west of the capital, Accra, with dozens of buildings reduced to piles of wood, brick and twisted metal.
“A total of 17 people have unfortunately been confirmed dead, and 59 injured people have been rescued,” Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said in a statement released overnight.
Seji Saji Amedonu, deputy director general of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), said 500 buildings had been destroyed. A regional emergency official told local media he had seen 10 dead bodies.
The explosion occurred when a motorcycle went under a truck carrying explosives that was on route to the Chirano gold mine, run by Canada-based Kinross.
A Kinross spokesperson confirmed the incident, saying it occurred 140km (87 miles) from the mine.
Francis Abeiku Yankah, a NADMO coordinator for Prestea Huni-Valley, told TV3 brodcaster: “I saw complete devastation of the community called Apiate. As we speak, the community is dead, it cannot be inhabited by anyone.”
The police released a statement advising the public “to move out of the area to nearby towns for their safety while recovery efforts are under way”.
Nearby towns have been asked to open up public spaces including classrooms and churches to survivors, the police said.
“It is a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident, and I extend, on behalf of Government, deep condolences to the families of the deceased, and I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo tweeted.