Explosion at arms factory rocks Sudan's capital
KHARTOUM, Sudan -- A powerful explosion at a military factory rocked Sudan's capital before dawn Wednesday, sending detonating ammunition flying through the air and causing panic, the official news agency and local media reports said.
Officials said there were no reports of deaths, although some residents had suffered from smoke inhalation. They did not say what caused the blast.
Thick black smoke covered the sky covered the sky over the Yarmouk Military Industrial Complex in southern Khartoum. Sudan's media reported that nearby buildings were damaged by the blast, their roofs blown off and their windows shattered.
Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Mohamed Hussein and senior officials visited the site of the explosion and held an emergency meeting with top army generals while security forces sealed off the area surrounding the complex and halted traffic.
Khartoum governor Abdul-Rahman Khedr told SUNA agency that no one died in the explosion. He said the fire was under control and an investigation into the cause is under way.
In 2009, a convoy carrying weapons in northeastern Sudan was targeted from the air, killing dozens. It was widely believed that Israel carried out the attack on weapons shipment headed for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Israel never confirmed or denied that. Sudanese parliamentarians denied that weapons were transported in the area.
In 1998, the United States cruise missiles bombed a Khartoum pharmaceutical factory suspected of links to al-Qaida in the aftermath of the terror group's bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
Sudan has been a major hub for al-Qaida militants and a transit for weapon smugglers and African migrant traffickers.