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Cablegate: Explosions in Downtown Freetown

VZCZCXRO6934
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHFN #0746 3541828
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201828Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN
TO RUEHRY/AMEMBASSY CONAKRY 1541
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1598
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS FREETOWN 000746

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DS/IP/AF, DS/DSS/CC, AF/W, AF/EX, S/CT, CA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PTER SL
SUBJECT: EXPLOSIONS IN DOWNTOWN FREETOWN

1. On December 20, 2007, the Embassy Emergency Action
Committee (EAC) convened to discuss a series of deadly blasts
that rocked downtown Freetown earlier the same afternoon.
Present were the Ambassador, DCM, RSO, CON, CLO, DAO, LEGATT,
USAID, POL, and PAO. The blasts occurred in the bottom floor
shop of a multi-story building located in a busy commercial
district in Central Freetown. Reports from UN Police Advisors
indicate that the explosions were caused when a fire ignited
canisters of flammable liquid, to include fuel, that was
believed to have been stored in the first floor shop. Initial
reports claim as many as seventeen people were killed and
numerous others injured. The exact number of fatalities and
injured have yet to be confirmed.

2. At this time, there is no indication that the explosions
were the result of a terrorist attack. All official Americans
and their dependents have been accounted for. The Embassy
will send a Consular Warden message to alert Americans. We
have no news at this time of American casualties. USAID
country representative will contact implementing partners to
ensure they are accounted for.

3. Embassy officials will continue to monitor the situation
and provide updates as details become available.
PERRY

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