CONGO: Orders to demolish makeshift fuel stations
Photo: Laudes Mbon/IRIN
|A view of Brazzaville: Makeshift fuel stations in residential areas are common in the capital|
"We have decided to close these informal fuel stations to preserve life,"
Charles Alain Obanga, the Secretary General of l'Agence de Regulation de l'Aval Petrolier (ARAP), the national fuel body, told IRIN in the capital Brazzaville.
"These products are dangerous, their sale and usage needs to be done with respect to hygiene, security and the environment," Obanga said. ARAP has the responsibility of regulating and monitoring the stocking and selling of fuel products in the country.
Those found selling fuel illegally will pay fines and be imprisoned, the agency warned. "The law gives us the power to take repeat offenders to court," said Obanga.
As a precautionary measure all legal service stations are required to have fire extinguishers as well as valid operating licenses.
The sale of petroleum products in residential areas has remained prevalent in the capital as in other towns despite the danger it poses. In August, a domestic fuel store caused a fire in the 16th arrondissement of Talanga burning 10 houses and leaving some people homeless.
Since January, at least 10 such accidents have been recorded by the Congolese Consumers' Association; in some cases lives were lost.
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