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6 found guilty for 2012 Brazzaville explosion

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LOUIS OKAMBA | September 10, 2013 07:06 AM EST | AP


BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo — A court in the Republic of Congo convicted and sentenced six people for contributing to an arms depot fire, which set off a deadly string of explosions in 2012, killing close to 300 people, according to the president of the tribunal.

A total of 26 others were acquitted for involvement in the blasts, which began after a military warehouse caught fire under suspicious circumstances on March 4, 2012, said Mathurin Bayi, president of the criminal court after the verdict was read late Monday. The war-grade weapons that were inside exploded in quick succession, pulverizing hundreds of houses nearby. Aerial photographs showed that the explosions leveled a one square-mile area.

The heaviest sentence went to an army corporal, who received 15 years of forced labor for arson. A colonel was sentenced to five years for embezzling funds which were supposed to be used to build proper containers for the munitions.