Explosions killed dozens in Mozambique
At leas 72 civilians were killed in Mozambique on Friday by obsolete ordinances at a military arsenal located near Maputo AllAfrica.com has reported. This was the third time explosions at the particular military base have occured each time killing more people. President Armando Guebuza promised on Friday that the military arsenal will be relocated at the cost of U.S $24 million.
Why did they allow this preventable loss to occur? This was complete irresponsibility on the part of the country's leadership. They knew since 1983 that the barrack contains tones of military hardwares that could explore at high temperature. Fifteen people died in two previous explosions between 1983 and early January. President Guebuza himself described the devastation as "serious, sad and worrying." He added "there are many bodies and explosive devices still to be removed".
With more than 370 wounded in hospitals, hundreds of live munitions scattered in residential areas, the country's international airport remained closed.
Although not writing for western media, the story answer the conventional what, when where, why and how news elements. The lead could be better with the verb said (or announced) instead of promised. There was no date mentioned for the promised relocation of military barrack. The reporter should have asked for that information? Besides building credibility, It could bring relief to the affected residents and those living near the area.
Another problem with the story was the fact that all those quoted were from the government. No comment (s) from victims. Atleast a quote from an opposition leader would have given much credibility to the story. This leave a big question: Can I trust the government account? On the plus side, all the quotes and attributions were done professionally. Read it at:
The same story was Associated Press with less official slant. For example, AP said "Several thousand people spent the night on the streets in downtown Maputo, unable to return to their homes in the poor neighbourhood near the ammunitions depot, which was sealed off by police."
AP also gave a good background by telling the readers that Mozambique, an impoverished southern African country still recovering from a long civil war, has been battered by natural disasters this year. Consider this vivid description: At the height of the inferno, some city centre windows were shattered by the intense heat.
Buildings also shook with the impact of the explosions. Cominng from the war-torn Liberia, I can see the frightened population running, some wounded, some dying without much help. This was a combination of panic and chaos.
But this AP story does not mention the promised relocation of the national armoury used to store weapons. To read this story go to : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070323.wmozambique0323/BNStory/International/home