Men craft coffins for some of the more than 200 people killed by explosions at a munitions depot, in Brazzaville, Congo Thursday, March 8, 2012. Many of the at least 246 victims of last weekend’s deadly arms depot blasts in the Republic of Congo’s capital will be buried Sunday in a mass funeral, state radio reported Thursday. STR / AP Photo
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo — Morgue workers hurried to finish washing the bodies of hundreds of people killed in last week’s explosion at a Congo army base ahead of the their state funeral Sunday, which will mark the single largest loss of life in this Central African nation.
At least 246 people died one week ago when an arms depot inside a military barracks went up in flames, setting off a lethal downpour of grenades, mortars and shells.
The detonation flattened buildings, including churches, schools, dormitories and businesses, crushing scores of people. Only 168 of the bodies have been identified so far, according to morgue records, and the government ordered them to be laid to rest in identical coffins in order to convey the national character of the loss.