- - Wednesday, March 7, 2012

REPUBLIC OF CONGO

No rescue effort 3 days after blast

BRAZZAVILLE | More than three days have passed since a catastrophic explosion laid waste to a section of the Republic of Congo’s capital. Officials confirmed that, as of Wednesday, no coordinated rescue effort had been launched, making it increasingly unlikely that any more people will be pulled alive from the flattened houses.

The roads leading to the site of the blast have been cordoned off by officers in bulletproof vests. The Red Cross has not received authorization to go inside, said spokesman Delphin Kibakidi.


The columns of soldiers and firefighters who are allowed in are concentrating on extinguishing the flames still burning after the country’s military depot caught fire Sunday, setting off a series of detonations so strong that they caused ceilings to cave in more than a mile away.

At least 246 people were killed after the fire in the armory catapulted shells, mortars, rockets and other munitions into a densely populated neighborhood in the capital of Brazzaville, according to national radio.

SUDAN

Former U.N. official warns of Nuba Mountains crisis

NAIROBI, Kenya | The former top U.N. humanitarian official in Sudan warned Tuesday that Khartoum’s military is carrying out crimes against humanity in the country’s southern Nuba Mountains in acts that remind him of Darfur.

Following a visit to the southern part of Sudan, Mukesh Kapila said he saw military planes striking villagers, the destruction of food stocks and “literally a scorched-earth policy.”

Mr. Kapila said the attacks reminded him of what he witnessed in Sudan’s Darfur region in 2003 and 2004, when the Arab government targeted black tribes.

Mr. Kapila served as the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in Sudan at the time. He said world governments must act to prevent another Darfur-type situation in the Nuba Mountains.

SOUTH AFRICA

Tens of thousands protest in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG | Tens of thousands of South Africans marched peacefully through their main cities Wednesday in a protest organized by the country’s biggest trade-union federation against economic decisions made by the governing African National Congress (ANC).

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