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Republic of Congo arsenal blast toll hits 200: presidency

03-05-2012 08:29 BJT

BRAZZAVILLE, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of an arms depot explosions in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo has topped 200 as of Sunday evening, according to the Central African country's presidential office.

Hospital sources reported around 200 victims in the blasts, an official of the presidency said amid speculation of heavier casualties.

But an official with a local morgue who declined to be named said a total of 136 bodies had so far been counted.

At least three powerful blasts rocked the city at 8 a.m. local time (0700 GMT), destroying an arms depot between the districts of Mpila and Talangai, panicking the passersby who were running to their safety after the explosions.

Xinhua correspondent saw at the blast scene that the dead were being carried away on stretchers and the wounded were lying on their back, waiting to be rescued. Heavy smokes were seen rising from the munitions depot which the blasts hit.

Many buildings near the depot, which had already been cordoned off, had been leveled after the spate of explosions. Cars at the scene were seen destroyed.

The window glass panels of Xinhua's local bureau were shattered by the blasts and the huge sound was even heard across the Congo River in Kinshasa.

Cries could be heard in a hospital in downtown Brazzaville, where the wounded were rushed to. Doctors could only tend to the seriously injured due to the lack of medics.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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