At least 16 people were killed and eight others were seriously injured when a fire broke out early Sunday morning at a nightclub in Yaounde, Cameroon's capital, authorities said.
"On Sunday, January 23, 2022, at about 2:30 am, an accidental fire broke out in the cultural complex Liv's Night Club of Yaouba, located in the district Bastos in Yaounde," the Communications Ministry said in a statement.
It said a tragedy occurred due to the fire caused by fireworks commonly used in these areas. The fire first destroyed the building's ceiling, and it was followed by two high-amplitude explosions that caused panic and stampede within the nightclub.
Earlier, the state-run Cameroun Tribune reported that 14 people died on the spot and two others died later in the city's central hospital from their injuries, citing Joseph Fouda, the health facility's director.
"Unfortunately, the flames quickly spread to the club's basement, especially with walls covered in foam and plastic," the report said, citing a security guard.
"I got out of the nightclub a little early. I was with a group of friends. I lost two of them. They were burnt to death," Stephane Amougou, a local who lives near the club, told Anadolu Agency.
One of his friends was Henri Ateba, an aviation official whose name appears alongside the other Cameroonian figures on the list of the dead people.
"All arrangements are being made for the identification of the deceased and their inhumation in accordance with the customs in force," the government stated.
Several Cameroonian authorities came to the scene of the tragedy, promising free medical care to the injured.
In response to a presidential directive, the city police have launched an investigation.