BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (AP) — 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.