2007 Maputo arms depot explosion
|This article needs to be updated. (November 2010)|
The 2007 Maputo arms depot explosion occurred in the afternoon of Thursday March 22, 2007 in Maputo, capital city of Mozambique. It was reported that 93 people were killed, and hundreds more were injured, in a series of explosions that lasted from shortly before 16:00 to 18:30.
The arms depot was constructed by the Soviet Union in 1984. The building housed Soviet-manufactured weapons used during the Mozambican Civil War. The building is in a residential neighborhood, near the international airport. An earlier explosion at the same location in 1984 killed 12 people.
In addition, a heat wave had been affecting the area for much of the summer, with temperatures around 35 °C (93 °F) being reported. The same heat wave was blamed for a much smaller explosion at the depot on January 28, 2007.
Casualties and damage
Health Minister Ivo Garrido said on March 23 that 93 fatalities were reported and that more than 300 people were injured. Most of the casualties were either soldiers working at the depot or residents of the poor neighborhood surrounding the building. As a result, the government announced three days of national mourning and declared that flags be flown at half mast.
The Interior Ministry ordered police to seal off the area to prevent looting of homes in the area abandoned after the explosion.
The immediate area around the depot was bombarded in falling missiles and bombs, which caused most of the casualties and damage. In other parts of the city, buildings shook and windows broke.
The Defense Ministry blamed the explosion on high temperatures.
The Interior Ministry ordered police and firefighters to aid the military in destroying the remaining munitions and matériel at the depot, which has not been used since the country's civil war and is considered obsolete.
Public outrage was voiced following the incident. Residents of the city complained that the government should have dismantled the depot years ago, as it was in the middle of a residential neighborhood, near to the city's airport, and filled with obsolete weapons.