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Fires brought 'under control' in Congo munitions depot: army
by Staff Writers
Kinshasa (AFP) March 6, 2012

View mounted canons among debris at the military barracks in the Mpila district of Brazzaville on March 5, 2012. Congo issued a plea for international help Monday as soldiers began recovering bodies from an area devastated by huge explosions at a munitions depot that left more than 150 dead and 1,000 injured. President Denis Sassou Nguesso announced a curfew in the capital Brazzaville and set up an exclusion zone around the devastated eastern district of Mpila, following an emergency cabinet meeting in the early hours of the morning. Photo courtesy AFP.

Fires that have raged since Sunday's deadly explosion at a munitions depot in Brazzaville have been brought under control, the Republic of Congo's military said Tuesday.

"The two fires have been brought under control since yesterday," defence ministry spokesman Colonel Jean-Robert Obargui told AFP by telephone from neighbouring DR Congo capital Kinshasa.

Obargui warned that even if the fires were under control, "for the moment, we can't" say that a second munitions depot, about 100 metres (yards) from the one that exploded on Sunday at a cost of some 180 lives, was no longer a danger.

"There is ammunition that remains and could explode from one moment to the next," he said, adding that there was nevertheless "not too much of a danger" like during Sunday's blasts.

On Monday, another military source told AFP that there was "a risk of propagation" of the fires from the depot that exploded to the second depot.

Oubargui said that an operation to render both sites safe was beginning "as of today," Tuesday.

"It's a matter of mine-lifting, taking the ammunition away from where it is located and destroying it far from the city, so that the danger will be definitively ended," he explained.

The British non-governmental organisation, Mining Advisory Group, which is specialised in mine-lifting and is financed by the European Union, will help in the task.

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