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Some 200 reportedly killed in Congo blasts

A plume of smoke from munitions explosions is seen over Brazzaville, Congo, from across the Congo River in Kinshasa, capital of neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, on Sunday.

BRAZZAVILLE, Congo -- Around 200 people were killed and many more injured in explosions Sunday morning in Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, according to a senior official in the presidency, citing hospital sources.

"According to sources at the central hospital we're talking of around 200 dead and many injured," Betu Bangana, head of protocol in the president's office, told Reuters by telephone.

The AFP news agency quoted a European diplomat in Brazzaville as saying around 1,500 people were injured.


Congolese officials earlier said the blasts occurred after a fire started in an arms depot in a military base in the riverside capital.

Junior D. Kannah / AFP - Getty Images

The blasts from across the Congo River blew out these windows in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The blasts were felt across the border in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Windows were blown out there and roofs lifted off by the blasts, the BBC reported.

cia.gov

The victims reportedly included many churchgoers attending Sunday service in the neighborhood of  Brazzaville, where the blasts happened.

Congo Defense Minister Charles Bowao later appeared on TV to say it was an accident, not the start of a war or coup.

"The explosions that you have heard don't mean there is a war or a coup d'etat," he said. "Nor does it mean there was a mutiny. It is an incident caused by a fire at the munitions depot."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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