Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tears, smell of death at Congo mass funeral

(Reuters) - Families cried and held handkerchiefs over their faces to fight the smell of death as Congo Republic held a mass funeral for more than a hundred victims from last week's explosions at a weapons depot in the centre of the capital Brazzaville.

Nine trailer trucks filled with 145 identical wooden coffins arrived at a public convention center where thousands of men and women, including President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his wife, sat under tents and listened to a gospel choir.

"I lost my wife, who was struck by shrapnel while she was praying in church," said Jean Emmanuel Tsankou Damangui, 54, sitting on a plastic chair and wearing a dark suit. "She has left me alone with five children."

People laid wreaths of flowers near the coffins and the Archbishop of Brazzaville Monsignor Anatole Milandou urged those at the funeral not to give in to despair, "but to show hope, love and solidarity."

The national anthem was played by Congo's military band during the funeral services. The coffins were later transported to a cemetery less than 1 kilometer away and buried. Read More