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Congolese troops secure volatile military base

03-13-2012 07:43 BJT

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The Congolese government has deployed additional troops to secure the Mpila military base, following a series of huge explosions that ripped through the Republic of Congo's capital Brazzaville last week when an arms depot caught fire. The base has been sealed off and the government has advised locals to avoid the area due to its volatility.

A contingent of military police arrive at the Mpila military base to secure the perimeters and protect property. An ambulance zooms to the scene to pick two more bodies recovered from the rubble in one of the apartments adjacent to the Military base Guy Lolo comps through the rubble for some vital documents. This is what remained of his house after the explosion. It has been his routine for the past few days, coming here very early in the morning and only leaving after dark.

Brazzaville resident Guy Lolo said: "I left after the explosion with nothing, so i come here every morning to look for important documents. Some of my property were stolen by unknown people."

Lolo had just arrived home that Sunday from church… he says just before he entered his house the first explosion went off and was quickly followed by a second one and when the walls caved in his daughter was hit by falling bricks.

Guy Lolo said: "I now live in a rented space at one of the destroyed buildings around here as I watch over the little that remained of our property."

Lucky to be alive, he is among the few here. Some of his neighbours lost their lives others lost their family members. Many more were injured when the arms depot at the military base exploded. Inside the military base, a lot is still going on.

Ken Mijungu with Mpila military base said: "This is the farthest i can go at the Mpila military base i am told that not even the military personnel who are not directive dealing with the explosives are allowed in and the situation inside is still very volatile."

Lionel Catteneo, heads the technical operations at the base. His company was contracted to give support to the French rescue team. He tells me the military barrack is still very dangerous.

Lionel Catteneo said: "In the meantime, we are conducting assessment to get a better idea about the damage and the number of."

During the incident the main and the biggest arms store exploded, most of its content was thrown around and now there are dangerous weapons and ammunition lying everywhere, like this explosive device we spotted at a destroyed building at the main entrance to the base.

Lionel Catteneo said: "Some of them were shocked during the explosion, so obviously some of them will be removed from the ground, but some of them couldn’t be handled or touched."

He tells me that the challenges have extended to the recovery of those trapped in the collapsed buildings, their rescue is hampered by risk they expose themselves to in the ammunition littered area. The remaining ammunitions will also be exploded once the recovery ends because some are too risky to handle. So far the government has promised to help those who lost property and family. In the meantime, they have to leave this area. It’s not safe to hang around anymore. The military will be detonating the remaining ammunition at the camp. Some have heard the call and have packed their few remaining belongings. For now, Guy Lolo and many more Congolese who were affected with the tragedy will make do with what’s available for them, limited space, lack of decent housing and loss of livelihood.”


Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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