1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. Southern Africa
  4. Mozambique

More than 50 dead in Maputo blasts

More than 50 people were killed when an army ammunition depot exploded outside the capital, Maputo, on Thursday, said a United Nations official citing reports. "We have also learnt that more than 150 people have been injured", said Miguel Barreiro, the UN project coordinator of the small arms and light weapons control intervention in Mozambique. The toll is expected to rise.

Flaming tracer bullets were seen against the night sky on Thursday in the densely populated suburb of Malhazine, about 10km from the city centre, where the depot is located.

Thousands of people crammed aboard buses and other vehicles as they tried to flee the suburb while towering flames rose several hundred feet above the burning armoury. An IRIN journalist at the site saw shells flying over the wall of the depot into the neighbourhood, while black smoke billowed over the suburb and through streets.


Photo: Paulo Van Der Ven
The arms depot went up in flames on Thursday

"At this point no fatalities have been reported, but dozens of people have been brought into hospitals, injured by the shells of the bombs or broken glass from window panes and doors," said Fernando Lima, a prominent Mozambican publisher and journalist.

Lima reported that the explosion on Thursday was as severe as the first time the Malhazine depot exploded in 1985, killing two children and injuring 40 people. Another depot blew up in January. "Army depots frequently explode in Mozambique as the storage facilities are not very good," he explained.

The IRIN journalist said there was a possibility of fatalities, as he had witnessed an informal restaurant going up in flames but did not know whether all the patrons had managed to escape.

dm/jk/he


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

It was The New Humanitarian’s investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation that uncovered sexual abuse by aid workers during the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and led the World Health Organization to launch an independent review and reform its practices.

This demonstrates the important impact that our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and shine a light on similar abuses. 

Become a member today and support independent journalism

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.

Join