At least 16 people have been killed in a fire at a popular nightclub in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé, the government has announced.
The fire was caused by fireworks used in the club, he added.
The fire engulfed the main hall of Liv’s Night Club in the upscale Bastos district, which is home to embassies and diplomats’ residences. Authorities said the fire spread to a location where cooking gas was stored.
“We are still at the level of investigations to know the names and nationalities of the dead and injured,” government spokesman René Emmanuel Sadi said on Sunday.
“The drama, which was caused by the explosions of the fireworks often used in these places, first consumed the ceiling of the building, resulting in two very loud explosions, causing panic and a stampede,” the ministry said. of Communications.
“There were loud explosions of six gas cylinders, causing panic in the neighborhood.” said the government statement, adding that eight other people were injured and transported to the central hospital in Yaoundé.
A security officer present at the time of the fire said “it happened very quickly”.
“It was a little after 2 a.m. and most customers arrive around 3 a.m.…there are a lot of casualties,” the security guard said.
The incident comes as the country welcomes thousands of football players, supporters and referees from across the continent for the month-long Africa Cup of Nations football tournament.
In a statement, Cameroonian President Paul Biya called for calm and assured CAN players and supporters of their safety.
The championship, with teams from 24 countries, was originally scheduled for 2021 but was later postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to a presidential directive, the municipal police opened an investigation.
A hundred people gathered on Sunday in front of the morgue of the military hospital in the Ekounou district of Yaoundé, in the hope of hearing from relatives.
“I have no information. I woke up this morning and they told me my 38-year-old son was dead,” said one woman, who went by the name Fidèle.
“I was expecting my brother and his friends last night, but they didn’t arrive. And around 7am, I got a lot of phone calls asking me if my brother was dead or alive. So I came to the morgue and identified his body,” says Claude, Fidèle’s daughter.
“I lost my little brother,” said Stéphane Hamza, 38.
“He was a good and kind lad who had been working at this club for about two months. When I heard about the explosion I came to the morgue where I was told he was dead.
In Douala, the economic capital of the south of the country, at least five nightclubs have been partially or completely burnt down in accidental fires over the past six years.