Congo blast: Apocalyptic scenes
05 March 2012, 08:09
Brazzaville - Stunned residents of Congo's capital surveyed damage
caused by deadly blasts at a weapons depot on Sunday that levelled
homes, destroyed military barracks and blew out windows in a
"I experienced the apocalypse," said Jeanette
Nuongui, the soul survivor from a family home that was destroyed in one
of the blasts that rocked Brazzaville.
"It is by the grace of God I
am here. My mother died, my father, my two brothers and my two sisters
also. There's nothing left," she added.
At least 100 people,
possibly many more, were killed and hundreds more wounded when a weapons
depot caught fire, triggering a series of at least five explosions.
were finding it hard to fight blazes because of ongoing blasts,
officials said, with a military barracks and the area around the
munitions depot devastated.
"It was the first explosion that blew
everything up," said Victorien-Constant Obani, a soldier whose house was
located opposite the barracks. His wife was injured in the arm.
happened here was more than a typhoon, more than a civil war," Obani
said. "My house was destroyed, I don't know what I am going to do."
blasts were even felt across the Congo River in the neighbouring city
of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where windows
shattered on some buildings.
Munition camp destroyed
said a blaze in two munition depots in the Mpila armoured brigade
barracks, in east Brazzaville, had triggered the explosions.
was terrified by the smoke climbing into the sky," said Willy Kaba, who
arrived soon after the first explosion at about 08:00 GMT. "After
plucking up courage, I approached the scene and saw the whole munition
camp destroyed - the buildings, the walls."
Resident Dutroc Messengo said a young man had lost both legs and another was killed when their house collapsed.
resident, Blaise Mongo, said women and children had fled to
neighbourhoods away from the ruined area, while men stayed behind to
protect what little remained from looters.
Near the barracks,
three churches were damaged or destroyed and houses could be seen with
their roofs hanging off, their doors broken and windows blown out.
news agency said some 140 Chinese workers from the Beijing Construction
Engineering Group were working near the munitions depot when the blasts
The dormitory building of China's Huawei company was
badly damaged, but there were no casualties reported there, Chinese