No rescue effort 3 days after blast
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.”