Maputo blast death toll rises, more than 500 injured

MAPUTO - The death toll from Thursday's explosions at a Maputo armoury has reached 100 and about 500 people have been injured. This was revealed by Mozambique health minister Ivo Garrido yesterday.

MAPUTO - The death toll from Thursday's explosions at a Maputo armoury has reached 100 and about 500 people have been injured. This was revealed by Mozambique health minister Ivo Garrido yesterday.

Garrido said the number could increase because some victims were still in critical conditions at Maputo Central Hospital.

The blasts at the army's warehouses at Malhazine armoury were the worst since the first such incident in 1985, which killed 12 people.

The military has blamed the blasts on intense heat in the area.

Defence ministry spokesman Joaquim Mataruca said while the government was investigating the cause of the explosions, currently it was blamed on maximum temperatures of 36 degrees on the day of the incident.

Opposition politicians have dismissed the idea that the armoury went up in smoke because of heat, and instead blamed it on negligence on the part of the defence authorities.

The government has appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the cause of the explosions.

Three days of national mourning were declared from Saturday and flags have been flying at half mast.

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents from surrounding townships have abandoned their homes for safer localities. -Sapa

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