Armed ViolenceDisplacement & Migration

Victims Still Homeless 10 Years After Explosion In Congo Brazzaville

In Sept. 2013, after the Brazzaville explosion, six soldiers were jailed for involuntary arson and attack on the internal security of the state.

Some victims of the 2012 explosion in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, are still homeless. Most of the 17,000 from the incident have cried out over their lack of shelter. 

On March 4, 2012, the arms and ammunition depot in Mpila quarter of Brazzaville exploded. It resulted in the death of at least 282 people and left 2, 300 injured. About 114 of the injured are now disabled. So far, 25,000 people have been displaced by the explosion. 

At the time of the explosion, various humanitarian Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) affirmed that the number of casualties had been greatly underestimated.

In Sept. 2013, six soldiers were jailed for involuntary arson and attack on the internal security of the state.


Most of the international NGOs were of the opinion that the state should also stand trial for allowing populations to inhabit an area near a military camp housing dangerous arms and ammunition.

“It is unfortunate to note that instead of a trial against the state for negligence, involuntary homicide and destruction of goods, there was but a political trial in the form of settling of scores between supporters of the power in place,” declared Roch Euloge Nzobo, a human rights defender.

The estimated cost of the reconstruction of the Mpila quarter was officially put at 233 billion FCFA (about 550 million US dollars) and in 2021, the state paid out one billion FCFA (about 2 million US dollars) to one thousand victims and intends paying another 6 billion FCFA (about 12 million US dollars) in 2022.

After the explosion, the state had proposed to provisionally install the victims on a site of 1,000 houses built in Kintele, about 25 km to the north of Brazzaville the capital, while waiting for a definite solution. However, those living there right now are complaining of the poor conditions and its distance from the centre of the capital where they go to work and to buy provisions.

The epicentre of the explosions and the zones of habitation were de-mined after the incident with the assistance of the United Nations.

A new building, now housing the sixth district council of Brazzaville, was erected on the site of the explosion and some houses which remain unoccupied have also been constructed there.

The government has since constructed new military camps to replace the destroyed ones on the periphery of Brazzaville, the national capital.


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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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