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Explosions at military base kill 20 in Tanzania

By Faith Karimi, CNN
Shock waves could be felt in neighborhoods more than six miles away from the airport in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday night.
Shock waves could be felt in neighborhoods more than six miles away from the airport in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday night.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Prime minister says 4,000 people displaced by explosions
  • Another official says she "does not think" the explosions are terror related
  • About 200 others are wounded in the blasts at an army base
  • The chain of explosions lights up the night sky late Wednesday
RELATED TOPICS
  • Tanzania
  • Dar Es Salaam

(CNN) -- A series of explosions at a military base in Tanzania killed 20 people and displaced 4,000 residents, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said Thursday.

In a statement delivered as he adjourned the parliament, Pinda said the blasts occurred Wednesday night at an ammunition bunker at the Gongola Mboto army base in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. It destroyed 23 munitions depots as well as a nearby school and two houses, and forced 4,000 people to seek shelter at the national stadium.

"The death toll might rise when we ascertain the full extent of the damage caused by the explosions," Pinda said.

Earlier, another official said at least 184 people were injured in the explosions that lit up the night sky in Dar es Salaam and spread debris throughout surrounding areas.

Nyancheghe Nanai, assistant director of disaster management, was unable to say what caused the explosions but added that she "does not think" they were related to terrorism.

Two years ago, explosions at another arms depot in Dar es Salaam left 29 dead from rocket and artillery discharges, Nanai said. Those blasts were not caused by terrorism, she said.

The explosions in the densely populated city rattled neighborhoods and forced the closure of the main international airport, which is near the army base.

 
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