No res­cue ef­fort 3 days af­ter blast

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

BRAZ­ZAV­ILLE | More than three days have passed since a catas­trophic ex­plo­sion laid waste to a sec­tion of the Repub­lic of Congo’s cap­i­tal. Of­fi­cials con­firmed that, as of Wed­nes­day, no co­or­di­nated res­cue ef­fort had been launched, mak­ing it in­creas­ingly un­likely that any more peo­ple will be pulled alive from the flat­tened houses.

The roads lead­ing to the site of the blast have been cor­doned off by of­fi­cers in bul­let­proof vests. The Red Cross has not re­ceived au­tho­riza­tion to go in­side, said spokesman Del­phin Kibakidi.

The col­umns of sol­diers and fire­fight­ers who are al­lowed in are con­cen­trat­ing on ex­tin­guish­ing the flames still burn­ing af­ter the coun­try’s mil­i­tary de­pot caught fire Sun­day, set­ting off a se­ries of det­o­na­tions so strong that they caused ceil­ings to cave in more than a mile away.

At least 246 peo­ple were killed af­ter the fire in the ar­mory cat­a­pulted shells, mor­tars, rock­ets and other mu­ni­tions into a densely pop­u­lated neigh­bor­hood in the cap­i­tal of Braz­zav­ille, ac­cord­ing to na­tional ra­dio. U.N. hu­man­i­tar­ian of­fi­cial in Su­dan warned Tues­day that Khar­toum’s mil­i­tary is car­ry­ing out crimes against hu­man­ity in the coun­try’s south­ern Nuba Moun­tains in acts that re­mind him of Dar­fur.

Fol­low­ing a visit to the south­ern part of Su­dan, Mukesh Kapila said he saw mil­i­tary planes strik­ing vil­lagers, the destruc­tion of food stocks and “lit­er­ally a scorched-earth pol­icy.”

Mr. Kapila said the at­tacks re­minded him of what he wit­nessed in Su­dan’s Dar­fur re­gion in 2003 and 2004, when the Arab gov­ern­ment tar­geted black tribes.

Mr. Kapila served as the U.N.’S top hu­man­i­tar­ian of­fi­cial in Su­dan at the time. He said world gov­ern­ments must act to pre­vent an­other Dar­fur­type sit­u­a­tion in the Nuba Moun­tains. made by the gov­ern­ing African Na­tional Congress (ANC).

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is a close ally of the ANC, but is of­ten among its sharpest crit­ics. COSATU cited two rea­sons for the marches in Jo­han­nes­burg, Cape Town and other towns and cities.

Sup­port from across the po­lit­i­cal, racial and eco­nomic spec­trum has emerged for one of the goals, get­ting the gov­ern­ment to scrap planned tolls to pay for road up­grades in the Jo­han­nes­burg area.

COSATU says tolls will make life more ex­pen­sive for the work­ing class. Mid­dle-class driv­ers also have com­plained, and busi­nesses don’t want the cost of mov­ing goods to rise. The main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Al­liance party has vowed to chal­lenge the toll plan in court. those pas­sen­gers car­ried fraud­u­lent yel­low-fever cards, Nige­ria’s gov­ern­ment has said.

Since those de­por­ta­tions, au­thor­i­ties at Lagos’ Mur­tala Muhammed In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Nige­ria have de­ported at least 84 South Africans over sim­i­lar claims about their vac­ci­na­tion cards, two gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who re­quested anonymity said Wed­nes­day.

Yel­low-fever vac­ci­na­tion cards, though re­quired through­out much of Africa, of­ten serve as a means for of­fi­cials to ex­tort bribes from trav­el­ers who for­get their cards.

In Nige­ria, health au­thor­i­ties of­ten tar­get for­eign­ers com­ing in for work at for­eign oil firms in the na­tion’s crude-rich south­ern delta.

Yel­low-fever cards also re­main easy to pur­chase, with hawk­ers sell­ing prop­erly stamped cards out­side Lagos’ in­ter­na­tional air­port for the equiv­a­lent of $5. Punt­land, where in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies are ex­plor­ing for oil, af­ter com­ing un­der heavy pres­sure from three for­eign armies in south­ern So­ma­lia.

Last week, a Punt­land mili­tia led by for­mer sol­dier Mo­hamed Said — nick­named “Atom” for his bomb­mak­ing abil­i­ties — an­nounced a merger with al-shabab. An al-shabab spokesman then used Twit­ter to warn in­ter­na­tional oil com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in Punt­land to cease op­er­a­tions, say­ing, “So­mali oil car­ries death.”

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