Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Explosion, fire at Canadian High Commission in Nigeria kills 2

An explosion at the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria's capital of Abuja killed two people and sent another two to hospital, according to the fire service that responded to the call.

"A tanker that was inside the generator building exploded ... killing two men who worked for the company managing the generator," Mercy Douglas of the FCT Fire Service told CBC News.

"Two people outside the building were injured by the explosion," she added. "They are in hospital having treatment."

An eyewitness who tweeted a video of the fire captured large plumes of black smoke billowing up from behind the building.

In a social media post, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said that officials were working to "shed light on what caused this situation."

"I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the two people killed in this tragedy," Joly said.

Douglas said the fire service got a call at 11:55 a.m. Monday reporting the tanker explosion inside the generator building on Diplomatic Drive in the city's central business district.

Firefighters in Abuja subdued the fire and were back at the station by 1 p.m., Douglas said.

Douglas was unable to confirm whether any of the people killed or hospitalized held Canadian citizenship.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Global Affairs Canada said one of the two people killed was a "locally engaged employee."

"Global Affairs Canada extends its sympathies to the families of those killed and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured," the statement said. "We can confirm all other staff at the High Commission are safe and unharmed."

Global Affairs said it's working with local authorities to determine the cause of the explosion and the High Commission will be closed until further notice.

"An investigation will be carried out, but at this point everything points to an accident rather than a deliberate act," the department said.

By Peter Zimonjic, CBC

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