INTRODUCTION: A series of powerful explosions destroyed tonnes of arms and munitions at an army camp outside Salisbury, Zimbabwe, on Sunday (16 August).
GV ZOOM IN Smoke rising from trees where army barracks located
GV & SV Troops manning roadblock leading to camp (3 shots)
GV PAN Ambulance and military vehicles pass (3 shots)
SV Man being arrested and driven away (3 shots)
GVs Armoury blowing up (2 shots)
SV Soldiers watching
GV Explosions continue
GV PAN Armoured car driving along; Explosions
GVs Explosions continue through pall of dark smoke (4 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: A series of powerful explosions destroyed tonnes of arms and munitions at an army camp outside Salisbury, Zimbabwe, on Sunday (16 August). Rockets, grenades and mortar shells were detonated at Inkomo Barracks, keeping emergency services back from fires at the camp.
SYNOPSIS: Some of the blasts, blamed by the Defence Ministry on an accidental gas cylinder explosion, were strong enough to shake houses in Salisbury 30 kilometres (20 miles) away. Troops set up roadblocks as shrapnel was thrown into the air.
No official details about casualties have been released, but it's understood that several men on guard duty were injured during the initial explosions. Despite the severity of the blasts, casualties were expected to be low.
As the camp was sealed off, journalists approaching the area were forced to shelter, with debris showering the area. One man was detained for questioning after being found near the perimeter fence. He maintained that he was a journalist.
The camp was used as a store for arms and ammunition. Most of it had been handed in by members of the ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas armies, after their seven-year war against the former Rhodesian regime.
The intensity of the explosions appeared to be weakening later in the evening, but officials said it could take two days to extinguish the fires that followed.
The fires remained confined to the armoury.
The barracks houses among other units the army's first parachute battalion and mounted regiments. As the soldiers cleared the area the explosions continued.
Larger quantities of explosives were stored in an underground ammunition dump, but they appeared to be unaffected by the turmoil at ground level.
Among those at the scene was Emerson Munangagwa, the Minister o State in the Prime Minister's office, with responsibility for state security.
Earlier, rumours spread that the explosions were started by a terrorist attack. But later it was officially announced that a faulty gas cylinder was to blame.