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236 dead after arms depot blasts

State radio in the Republic of Congo says 236 people have died after a series of explosions started by a fire at an arms depot.

Radio Congo said 236 bodies had been taken to a Brazzaville morgue.

Sunday's blasts flattened buildings, killing hundreds and trapping countless others under debris. The blasts echoed across the Congo River to the capital of the neighbouring Central African nation of Congo.

International experts fought on Monday to prevent fires from reaching a second depot and igniting more munitions.

Rescuers were still unable to reach hundreds believed to be trapped under debris because of ongoing explosions. There are fears the many small fires ignited by the blasts could suck away oxygen needed by any entombed survivors.

Government spokesman Bienvenu Okyemi blamed a short circuit for the initial fire.

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