Top of the Morning: Blast in Brazzaville; Battles in Southern Yemen

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Hundreds Killed in Huge Blast at Congo-Brazzaville Arms Depot

Foul play is not yet suspected, but what a tragedy. Structures within a three mile radius were damaged by the explosions.  “At least 200 people have been killed and many more injured in a series of explosions in the capital of Congo-Brazzaville, according to a senior presidency official. “According to sources at the central hospital we’re talking of around 200 dead and many injured,” said Betu Bangana, the head of protocol in the president’s office in Brazzaville. The blasts took place on Sunday after a fire started in an arms depot at a military base. Panic spread from Brazzaville across the Congo river to Kinshasa, where windows were shattered by the force of the blasts. The river separates the former French colony of Congo-Brazzaville from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both governments called for calm and there was no immediate suspicion of anything but an accident. Congo-Brazzaville is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s top oil producers.” (The Guardian

Al Qaeda Overruns Military Base in Yemen. Scores Killed

The conflict in southern Yemen rages on. “Al-Qaida militants launched a surprise attack against army bases in southern Yemen, killing 78 soldiers, seizing weapons and parading 55 troops they had taken captive through the center of a town under their control, military officials said. The battle in Abyan province shows how militants have taken advantage of the political turmoil created by the year-long uprising against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh who last month handed over power to a successor. The scale of Sunday’s attack points to the combat readiness of the militants as they launch more and more attacks in a region that the United States considers a key battleground in the war on al-Qaida.” (Time