Warri, Sep 11 (AP/UNB) — A gas depot exploded in central Nigeria, killing 18 people and leaving some burned beyond recognition, a witness said Monday.
More than 40 other people had burns after the blast in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa state, taxi driver Yakubu Charles told The Associated Press. He said he helped to evacuate victims after more than a dozen occupied vehicles were set on fire. Victims had to be taken to hospitals on motorbikes as no ambulances were available, he said.
Both the Nigeria Police Force and Federal Road Safety Corps confirmed the blast but declined to give a number of casualties.
Nigeria's Senate president, Bukola Saraki, in a Twitter post called the explosion "horrific" and said he met with survivors. He offered prayers for families who lost relatives.
Many gas dealers operate mini-depots in Nigerian cities with no strong measures to regulate their activities, leading to frequent explosions. In January, 10 people died in a blast in Magodo in Lagos state.
Miami, Sep 8(AP/UNB) — A tropical storm formed in the eastern Atlantic continues to move toward the western coast of Africa.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Saturday that Tropical Storm Helene was located about 290 miles (466.69 kilometers) east-southeast of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands. The storm's maximum sustained winds are 45 mph (75 kph) and it is moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).
Forecasters expect the storm to bring tropical storm conditions to parts of the Cabo Verde Islands on Saturday night. Officials say heavy rainfall on the islands could produce life-threatening flash floods.
A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch are in effect for the Cabo Verde islands of Santiago, Fogo, and Brava.
Nairobi, Sep 5 (AP/UNB) — Former world half marathon champion Paul Koech of Kenya has died. He was 49.
The Kenyan track and field federation confirmed Koech's death on Wednesday. He died on Monday but no cause of death was given, with the federation saying it came after a short illness.
Koech's finest hour came when he won gold at the world half marathon championships in Zurich in 1998. He finished sixth in the 10,000-meters at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and fourth at the world championships the following year.
Koech was a contemporary of the Kenyan great Paul Tergat and finished second when Tergat broke the 10,000-meter world record in 1997. That race made Koech the third-fastest 10,000-meter runner in history at the time.
Koech was a co-opted member of the Athletics Kenya executive committee at the time of his death.