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Page last updated at 14:42 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 15:42 UK

Hundreds hurt by Tanzania blast

A man injured in the blast is taken to a hospital emergency room in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 29 April 2009
The blasts sent shockwaves across Dar es Salaam

More than 300 people, some critically injured, remain in hospital a day after the massive armoury explosion near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's biggest city.

Officials said the death toll has risen to 11, including six army officers killed at the ammunition dump.

One child drowned jumping into a river in the panic and hundreds more have still not been reunited with parents.

Investigations are under way into the cause of the blast next to the military base on the outskirts of the city.

President Jakaya Kikwete visited the Mbagala ordnance depot on Thursday, a day after the blast which caused mass panic and flashbacks of the deadly 1998 US Embassy bombing in the country's main commercial centre.

Tanzanian soldiers carry unexploded ordnance away from the army camp on 29 April 2009
Most of the children were running without knowing where they were going
Suleiman Kova
Police commander

Dar es Salaam police commander Suleiman Kova told journalists: "The death toll may be higher since we are still compiling reports and search is going on in collapsed and burnt down buildings," reported AFP news agency.

Criminals took advantage of the mayhem to loot the army barracks and surrounding civilian homes, said the authorities.

The BBC's Vicky Ntetema says more than 1,000 people were injured, a third of whom were admitted in various hospitals with multiple injuries.

She visited two temporary camps set up by the Red Cross on the outskirts of the city to reunite missing children with their parents where nearly 300 youngsters remained unaccounted for this morning.

Our correspondent says many parents are still desperately looking for their children.

Some children fled for more than 15km (nine miles) after they were advised by the police and army to leave Mbagala township for their own safety.

"Most of them were running without knowing where they were going. They were assisted to the camp by some good people and parents are advised to report for missing children," Mr Kova added, reported AFP.

Map

In the immediate aftermath of the explosions, the Tanzanian government ordered the evacuation of high-rise buildings and offices as a precaution.

Shockwaves from no fewer than three explosions lasting at least two hours were felt throughout the city.

The armoury next to the army camp, which lies 14km (nine miles) outside the city centre, is thought to have contained large amounts of mines and artillery shells.

A number of homes in residential areas were destroyed by raining fiery debris.

One person was reportedly killed by shrapnel about 15km from the ammunition dump.

Other army depots have blown up in Africa in recent years.

In March 2007, an explosion on the outskirts of the Mozambican capital, Maputo, killed more than 90 people and more than 400 were injured.

And in January 2002 an ammunition dump in Lagos blew up, sending mortars crashing down on Nigeria's economic capital, and leaving more than 1,000 dead.



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SEE ALSO
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Tanzania explosions: Eyewitnesses
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Country profile: Tanzania
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Remembering East Africa's terror
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Dozens dead in Mozambique blasts
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Hundreds missing after Lagos blasts
30 Jan 02 |  Africa

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