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At least 16 dead as arms depot blows up in Baghdad

Written by Maritime First

…15 killed in clashes in Benue***

At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured after an arms depot exploded in the Sadr City district of the Iraqi capital late Wednesday, security and medical sources said.

“An arms depot exploded… The security forces have opened an inquiry to determine the cause,” Baghdad’s security operations command said in a statement.

A senior police source told AFP on condition of anonymity that the blast was caused by heavy weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and shells, belonging to an armed group and stored in a house.

He said at least 16 people were killed and some 32 injured in the explosion.

Medical sources confirmed the toll and said that women and children were found among the victims.

Sources said the blast struck near a Shiite mosque in the district of northeast Baghdad.

Witnesses reported heavy material damage to homes and other buildings in the Sadr City district, which is a stronghold of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr.

In the meantime, at least 15 people were killed over the past few days in separate attacks in central Nigeria’s Benue State, the scene of regular clashes between Christian farmers and nomadic cattle herders, official sources said Wednesday.

Suspected militant herders carried out the attacks on several villages in under 48 hours, Benue State information minister Lawrence Onoja said.

The village of Tse Ishav, near Guma, was attacked at around 3am on Wednesday, with militants “leaving behind eight corpses, several missing and many wounded,” he said.

It came after two other people were killed on Monday by the same armed men close to the nearby locality of Yelwata, he added.

The head of Guma’s local government Anthony Shawon confirmed the death toll of 10, adding that the attackers set fire to houses and farms as they left.

The same militia also carried out further attacks in the neighbouring district of Logo where “five people were killed… and many more wounded,” said Onoja.

The head of the local government Richard Nyajo echoed the report, adding that police reinforcements have been deployed.

Benue state has seen a wave of deadly clashes which have left hundreds dead in recent months.

The area lies in the so-called “Middle Belt” between Nigeria’s mainly-Christian south and predominantly-Muslim north.

Guardian UK with additional report from Guardian NG

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