Moz deactivates explosives (Mozambique)

Maputo - Mozambique experts on Monday began deactivating thousands of explosive devices collected by the military more than 10 days after massive explosions at an arms depot killed 119 people.


"Four thousand unexploded devices have been collected and their destruction began today at Moamba" about 60km southwest of the capital Maputo, defence ministry spokesperson Joaquim Mataruca told AFP.

Bombs, mines and ammunition exploded in the country's largest arms depot near Maputo international airport on March 22 with debris falling on nearby poor neighbourhoods, triggering fires and causing panic. About 500 people have been reported injured.

The armoury was built in the 1980s by the Soviet Union during civil war in the former Portuguese colony in southeast Africa.

The latest death toll of 119, up two on a previous toll, was given by Maputo city hall on Monday.

Municipal council president Eneas Comiche said that "nearly 800 houses were partially or totally destroyed" in the disaster.

Seven hundred and fifty families needed assistance after the blasts, according to Casimiro Abreu, the government's emergency aid coordinator.

"They received food, tents and equipment to be able to survive until their situation has become clear," he added.

Von: 03.04.2007

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