Congo weapons depot fire sparks blasts

Blasts rocked the capital of the Republic of Congo today after a weapons depot caught fire.

The explosions shook houses in Brazzaville and echoed across the Congo River to the capital of the neighbouring country.

Defense minister Charles Zacharie Boawo appeared on national television to urge calm in Brazzaville and in the neighbouring capital of Kinshasa.

“The explosions that you have heard don’t mean there is a war or a coup d’etat,” he said. “Nor does it mean there was a mutiny. It is an incident caused by a fire at the munitions depot. At this very moment our experts are there trying to extinguish this fire so this situation does not recur.”

Witnesses said the explosions came from the north of the city and that the impact of the blasts threw open doors of houses in the city centre. The explosions also prompted some residents of the northern part of the city to flee south.

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