A series of powerful explosions rocked Maputo airport in Mozambique on Thursday afternoon, as once again obsolete military equipment stored in an arsenal of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) in the outer suburb of Malhazine blew up.
The explosions caused panic in the areas near the arsenal, and could be heard all over the city. Even in the heart of the city, about nine kilometres from Malhazine, the explosion caused damage, blowing out windows (including one in the AIM offices).
There are so far no reports of casualties – but the arsenal is on fire, and the authorities have issued appeals for calm.
People are fleeing from the Malhazine area, seeking shelter in safer areas. Projectiles and shrapnel are being hurled out of the arsenal by the force of the explosions.
This is the second time in less than two months that the ageing mortar shells and other devices in the arsenal have exploded. – Mozambique News Agency
On 28 January, Defence Minister of Mozambique Tobias Dai blamed the high summer temperatures for the explosions. It was then revealed that the arsenal contained stores of about 20 tonnes of obsolete equipment awaiting destruction.
Three people were injured in the January explosions. The current blaze is clearly on a larger scale than the January events.
The explosions began at about 16.45, and at the time of writing this item (18.00) were still continuing. –