Lagos Armory Explosion
The death toll from a Nigerian armory explosion topped 1,000 today.
There were signs that a police mutiny was ending, but there was also ethnic rioting in a Lagos suburb.
The search continued for a sixth day in grimy canals to find those killed in a stampede as people escaped from explosions at a military armory last Sunday. Thousands are homeless as a result of the explosions.
''We have almost completed the search for the bodies in the swamp,'' said the Lagos state governor, Bola Tinubu. ''More than 1,000 in total have been registered as dead.''
An official inquiry has begun into the cause of the blast, which sent rockets, bombs and shells flying into heavily populated districts of Lagos, panicking residents who feared a military coup.
A group of human-rights lawyers said on Friday that they suspected political sabotage might have been the cause, rather than an accidental fire which soldiers at first suggested had set off the blast.
The explosion paralysed all activities in the city. Like tsunami, it shocked residents and turned daylight into darkness, leaving behind tears and sorrow. Official sources put the casualty recorded during the blasts to 800, but unofficial sources said the figure released by the government were a gross underestimation. Also, material damages recorded in the cantonment’s immediate vicinity were enormous Residential buildings, churches, mosques, hospitals and schools either had their roofs blown off, their window glasses shattered or their walls cracked.
As artillery shells, bombs and missiles stacked in an obsolete armory inside the Ikeja Military Cantonment went off in a series of explosions on Sunday evening, many residents fled their homes, thinking that a military uprising was underway to topple Obasanjo's government. He was elected three years ago, ending a decade and half of military rule.
It remained unclear how the explosions began, though by some reports a fire spread to the armory from an adjacent slum.
In Oshodi, a poor suburb surrounding the military base, hundreds of people, most of them children, drowned in the muddy Oke Afa canal while fleeing huge fireballs that surged toward their neighborhood.