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Lagos soldiers pelt vice-president

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Angry Nigerian soldiers who lost their homes in a munitions dump blast which killed 600 people have pelted the visiting vice-president with water bottles.

Atiku Abubakar was in Lagos to inspect damage from Sunday's explosion and to address troops, but an angry crowd stopped him from speaking.

Witnesses told Reuters that thousands of soldiers and members of their families blocked the gates to the military primary school where Abubakar had been due to speak.

They forced his car to turn back under a barrage of water bottles.

Anger has simmered against the authorities after more than 600 bodies, many of them children, were found after the explosion in a nearby canal.

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Survivors of a munitions depot explosion in Lagos struggle to get by in the aftermath. CNN's Lagos Bureau Chief Jeff Koinange reports (January 31)

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The death toll from the explosions and stampede is still rising. CNN's Jeff Koinange reports (January 30)

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Eyewitness: Lagos survivors demand answers 
 

Aid workers say more than 1,100 people are still missing since fire and explosions from the arms dump triggered a mass stampede on Sunday.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo had already been the target of local anger after telling the distraught mothers of children missing after the disaster to "shut up."

He was forced to apologise and added that at the time of his visit on Monday it was not known that anybody had died.

Most of the victims were found drowned in a canal only after Obasanjo had left the region. They had stampeded into the canal as munitions from the dump fell on Lagos city.

The army has not reported any deaths at the barracks, although many Nigerians suspect people were killed there.

An army inquiry is to investigate why such a large arms depot had been stationed in the heart of a residential area.

But Defence Minister Yakubu Danjuma pre-empted the inquiry by saying the depot would be moved.

He said the arms store had been built when few people lived in the area but since then it has been "swallowed up by the metropolis" of Lagos and it was now in an inappropriate location.



 
 
 
 


RELATED STORIES:
• Nigeria blasts: 1,100 missing
January 30, 2002
• Inquiry begins into Nigeria blasts
January 29, 2002
• Anger follows Lagos blasts
January 29, 2002
• Nigerians missing after blasts
January 28, 2002

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