Congo explosions: Soldiers jailed by Brazzaville court

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Video from Kinshasa showing blast in Brazzaville. 4 March 2012Image source, AP
Image caption,
The blasts could be seen from Kinshasa, across the Congo River

Six soldiers have been jailed by a court in Congo-Brazzaville for explosions at an arms depot that killed nearly 300 people in March 2012.

The main accused, Corporal Kakom Kouack Blood, was sentenced to 15 years' hard labour for wilfully setting fire to the depot in the capital, Brazzaville.

Twenty-six others were acquitted of the blasts, blamed at the time on a short-circuit that caused a fire.

The explosions wounded more than 2,300 and left 17,000 homeless.

They were so powerful that windows were blown out and roofs damaged several miles away in Kinshasa, across the river in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The criminal court in Brazzaville also sentenced the former deputy secretary general to the national security council, Colonel Marcel Tsourou, to five years' hard labour for his role in the explosions, AFP news agency reports.

Congo is a poor country, ruled by Denis Sassou Nguesso who first came to power some three decades ago with military backing.

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