Cameroon has increased troops around its lone oil refinery after a weekend explosion caused a shutdown of the facility. But the government denies separatist fighters’ earlier assertion that they were responsible for the blast.
Cameroon’s Trade Minister, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana said there will be no shortages and no price increases of petroleum products. He said Cameroon, two years ago, found itself in a similarly difficult situation when the national refinery shut down its doors for eight months for rehabilitation.
He also said shortages in supply were minimal because imports were increased without increasing prices. He further urged people to remain calm.
People are reported to have been buying and stocking fuel with fear of a looming scarcity. The scare was sparked after a storage tank exploded Saturday night at Cameroon’s only oil refinery in the town of Limbe, in the Southwest region.
The blast caused a fire that damaged parts of the refinery and shut down output. No lives were lost.
Rebels fighting to separate the English-speaking parts of Cameroon from the Francophone majority claimed responsibility for the explosion on social media. They said the refinery was attacked because English speakers benefit very little from the company.
Government spokesperson, Rene Emmanuel Sadi said proceeds from the company are used to develop all of Cameroon and refuted claims that the explosion was perpetrated by secessionist fighters. He said early investigations indicate it was an accident.
He said details of the accident that blew up parts of the refinery will be made public soon. He also added that the military has been deployed to make sure the refinery and its equipment are totally protected.
The refinery, which is almost entirely state-owned, supplies 2.2 million tons of petroleum a year to Cameroon and countries of the region including Togo, Nigeria, and Ghana.
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