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Cablegate: Government Building Collapses, Killing at Least 24

VZCZCXRO9322
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0253 0911721
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311721Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4698
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

UNCLAS LUANDA 000253

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM AO
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT BUILDING COLLAPSES, KILLING AT LEAST 24


1. (U) The six-story building housing the National Department
of Criminal Investigation (DNIC) collapsed in the early
morning of March 29, 2007. According to the Ministry of
Interior, 181 people - 36 employees and 145 detainees - were
inside the building at the time of the collapse. Most of the
detainees, who were imprisoned in basement cells, have been
rescued from the rubble; 24 bodies have also been recovered.
At least 10 people are still missing, and search and rescue
operations continue.

2. (U) President Dos Santos has formed an investigative
commission, which is charged with issuing a preliminary
report on the cause of the accident within twenty days. Foul
play is not suspected, as the building started shifting
several hours before the collapse. The building was built
over an aquifer, and a shift in the aquifer is already
suspected to be the cause.

3. (SBU) As the investigative arm of the National Police,
DNIC conducts all civil and criminal investigations in
Angola. At this time there are no estimates on what impact
the collapse will have on the judicial system, but in a
country that runs on paper documents rather than computers
with outside backups, serious judicial delays are expected to
occur. Post will continue to monitor and report on the
fallout from this event, keeping a keen eye on what the
incident may indicate in regard to the safety of Luanda's
aging building stock.
MOZENA

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