NIGERIA: RESIDENTS SIFT THROUGH WRECKAGE AFTER STREET MARKET FIRE SPREAD TO AMMUNITION DUMP AND SPARKED EXPLOSIONSRecord ID: 636776
- Title: NIGERIA: RESIDENTS SIFT THROUGH WRECKAGE AFTER STREET MARKET FIRE SPREAD TO AMMUNITION DUMP AND SPARKED EXPLOSIONS
- Date: 29th January 2002
- Summary: (U3) LAGOS, NIGERIA (JANUARY 28, 2002) (REUTERS) SLV STREET SCENES IN MORNING LV SMOKE RISING FROM ROOFS OF MARKET STALLS; SLV CHARRED BUILDING; LAS CHARRED WINDOW FRAMES (4 SHOTS) HAS PEOPLE LOOKING AT RUINS; SLV MEN STANDING AMID CORRUGATED SHEETS; MV RUINED FURNITURE (3 SHOTS) SLV BURNT MARKET PLACE; SLV SOLDIERS STANDING IN MARKET (2 SHOTS) SCU/MV PEOPLE LOADING BELONGINGS INTO CARS (2 SHOTS) SCU WOMAN CRYING SLV BUSES DRIVING DOWN STREET SCU SHELL LYING ON GRASS NEXT TO ROAD; CU SHELL (2 SHOTS)
- Reuters ID: LVA54NDRNADDDTJVGPKYT6W0PX3
- Location: LAGOS, NIGERIA
- Country: Nigeria
- Duration: 00:01:51
- Topics: Disasters,General
- Story Text: Nigerians have been sifting through the wreckage and debris, after a fire in a street market spread to an army ammunition dump in Lagos, sparking a series of bomb explosions that shook Nigeria's biggest city and sent residents fleeing their homes in panic.
At least 10 people were killed and more were missing, many of them children, after a fire in an armoury ignited a series of huge explosions in Lagos, witnesses and authorities said on Monday (January 28, 2002).
President Olusegun Obasanjo visited the devastated Ikeja barracks and pledged urgent relief assistance from the government after Sunday's mayhem.
A Reuters reporter saw two bodies on Oshodi Road near the still smouldering arms depot. Eight more were counted by other witnesses.
The independent Guardian newspaper said its reporter saw about a dozen bodies at a street market where the army says a fire started and then spread to the armoury. There was no immediate confirmation of the figure.
The chaotic aftermath of the incident continued to inflict casualties on Monday. Soldiers said a young boy lost a foot and an eye when he stepped on an unexploded shell after venturing back into the evacuated barracks.
Witnesses reported extensive damage inside the barracks and to nearby homes and public buildings.
The army had yet to give an official figure for the number of casualties among troops in the barracks.
Hundreds of soldiers and their families spent the night in the open and milled in front of the main barracks gate on Monday morning, unsure whether to go back in. Some salvaged belongings from wrecked homes.
The army moved quickly on Sunday to assure the public the blasts were not evidence of a new military coup in the volatile country.
Brigadier-General George Emdin, commander of the Ikeja brigade, apologised on behalf of the army for the explosions and the panic they triggered.
He said the army had been planning to improve storage facilities at the crumbling armoury for years.
The Ikeja barracks is the main armoury for T-55 and Leopard tanks used by Nigeria in peacekeeping missions in Liberia and Sierra Leone over the past decade.
Military sources said the exploding ordnance would have included cluster bombs.
The Ikeja base has played leading roles in Nigeria's several military coups since independence from Britain in 1960.
Obasanjo's government has been plagued by a series of political crises, and ethnic and religious violence that has killed more than 3,000 people since military rule ended in 1999.
Tension has been particularly high in the southwestern region around Lagos since the unsolved assassination of Justice Minister Bola Ige in the city of Ibadan.
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