Benin: Explosion Injures 10 Soldiers

Ten soldiers were injured Monday in Benin in an “explosion in the ammunition compartment” at an officer training school in the south of the country, the military announced Tuesday. The Beninese military said in a press release that the explosion occurred during the “transfer of obsolete equipment”, which evoked a “pyrotechnic accident“.

The army said wounded soldiers were hospitalized while a technical team from the post-conflict demining training center “were deployed to the scene to ensure safety”.

On Monday afternoon, residents of Toffo (south), a rural area about 90 kilometers from the capital Cotonou, were alarmed by the sound of an explosion coming from the officers’ school.

Aimé Dossougouin, a local resident contacted by AFP by phone, said: “A huge, thick black smoke rose into the sky and we heard noises as if we were firing weapons. “Our only reflex was to run away as far as possible. Many thought it was a bomb,” continued the 28-year-old resident.

“The Chief of the General Staff of the Beninese Armed Forces have reassure the local people that the situation is under control,” the military pointed out, and urged the people  not handle the debris of (the explosion).” and get closer to its staff in case debris is discovered.”

Benin, like Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, faces a growing threat from the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda fighters based in Niger and Burkina Faso, which are now increasing attacks on its territory.

The Beninese Force last month claimed to have recorded about 20 intrusions since 2021.

The government of Benin has indicated that it plans to recruit 5,000 men to help its security forces specifically defend the northern border.

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