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A fire broke out at a fuel depot and car sale yard, in the centre of the Somali capital Mogadishu, causing extensive damage. Over 100 vehicles, 800 gallons of fuel and hundreds of cartons of car lubricants were in the depot at the time of the fire.
A huge smoke hang over the city for hours as AMISOM soldiers, together with the newly trained Mogadishu fire fighters battled to put out the fire.
The fire that paralysed business along the Kilometer 4 Junction has been linked to the fuel trade in the area, as the possible cause.
One eye witnesses however said it was sparked off a tanker, from which fuel was being transferred, before spreading out.
“There was fuel being sold here, so the fuel caught fire and then it spread to the cars. The cars then exploded as a result and the nearby shops caught fire. No one was killed by the fire but we know that there has been extensive damage and the traders here have lost a lot of their belongings,” he says.
The effort to put out the fire went on for hours. This comes just over a month after the Mogadishu fire fighters completed training in Fire and Rescue Skills, facilitated by AMISOM.
Speaking at the scene, Farah Karar Mahamud, one of the fire fighters said they had done everything possible to put out the fire but still face major constraints.
“We were informed that this fire was as a result of fuel. There was fuel being transferred from a tanker and then it caught fire. We have been criticized for our shortcomings because we didn’t have a water tanker with us. We would like to thank AMISOM who came to our aid. They have been our mentors and trainers,” said Farah Mahamud.
One of the traders in the area Mohamud Hashi Awale says they have suffered extensive losses. “There were up to 800 drums of diesel and petrol stored in here, there were 2000 cartons of lubricants, there were 130 cars and there was a lot of money in cash,” he says.
The fire was put out after hours of battling; leaving the traders to count their losses while others struggled to salvage what little was left. Still recovering from over two decades of war, Somalia is yet to have an established banking system while fuel trade remains largely unregulated without specific trading areas.
In September there was another huge fire after an accidental explosion at another fuel storage facility at the former US ambassador’s residence in Mogadishu.

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