23 held over Congo munitions dump blast
5/12/2012 5:50:00 PM -
BRAZZAVILLE (AFP) - Twenty-three people, all but one of them soldiers, have been charged and detained in connection with a blast at a Congo munitions dump that killed nearly 300 people in March, officials said Saturday.
Speaking on national radio Culture Minister Jean Claude Gakosso, the acting government spokesman, said the suspects were remanded in custody following an investigation into the causes of the blast that devastated the Congolese capital.
The explosions, which also left more than 2,300 people injured and 14,000 homeless, were initially blamed on a short-circuit and fire at the munitions depot.
"Following the investigation, the public prosecutor notified the 23 suspects that they were being charged under 11 different counts and served with detention orders," national radio said.
Prosecutor Essami Ngatse declined to give out any details of the charges, telling AFP the preliminary investigation was secret, while a local human rights group said it feared the trial would be a "travesty."