Arms depot blast kills dozens
An explosion at an arms depot claimed more than 20 lives, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (MONUSCO) said on Saturday. The city of Mbuji-Mayi “was ravaged with more than 20 dead, around 50 wounded and many destroyed houses” on Friday, MONUSCO said in a statement. A government spokesman gave an initial death toll of at least five from the blast triggered by a lightning strike on the military munitions dump at the Brigade Army Base. Government spokesman Lambert Mende on Friday told reporters that lightning had ignited a fire in the munitions dump and set off the explosion. A witness speaking by telephone said he had seen the bodies of a woman and her child in the local hospital, as well as several people with amputated limbs. On Saturday, witnesses said the explosion had burned or destroyed houses within a radius of dozens of meters, leaving a crater about 1.5m deep.
Nine dead in wedding attack
A grenade was lobbed at a wedding party in Kampong Thom Province on Saturday, killing nine people and wounding 30 others, including the bride and groom, officials said yesterday. The attack is thought to have been carried out by a man who is in love with the bride. The grenade was thrown as guests danced, provincial military police chief Horng Thul told reporters by telephone. “They were happily dancing when the grenade exploded,” he said, adding that two girls, aged seven and 14, were among the victims. He said the bride suffered a broken thigh after she was hit by shrapnel, while the groom suffered a hand injury.
Blaze razes ancient village
A fire has destroyed more than 100 homes in a village built three centuries ago, state media said yesterday, the third blaze to ravage a cultural site in weeks. The blazes, which all erupted in the southwest of the country, often burned down old wooden structures. The latest fire broke out at Baojing Dong Village in Guizhou Province late on Saturday and took more than four hours to put out, Xinhua news agency said. The area was “one of China’s most complete” settlements of the Dong ethnic minority, known for its “well-preserved” dwellings, it added. Nearly 2,000 people live there, but no casualties have yet been reported. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, Xinhua said. There are more than 200 similar settlements are in the same prefecture, Qiandongnan, and many have suffered from fires, local housing official Gu Huaxian was quoted by Xinhua as saying last month.
Taliban bomb military bus
A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up near a military bus in Kabul yesterday, killing four people in the latest attack in the capital. Two military officers and two civilians died when the bomber, who was on foot, targeted the bus taking Ministry of Defense staff to work. “There are four dead. Two civilians, one of them female and two military officers. It was a suicide bombing,” ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi said. At least 22 people were injured, including two civilians, he added. A Taliban spokesman using a recognized Twitter account claimed responsibility for the blast shortly after 7am. The militants claimed that 27 soldiers were killed or wounded, although they regularly exaggerate death tolls. The attack followed an improvised explosive device blast on Saturday in which two people were wounded.