Four explosions ahead of talks in the Congo capital, Brazzaville, were caused by lightning striking an arms depot, the army says.

No-one was killed in the explosions but there was panic in the surrounding area and some walls were destroyed, says the BBC’s Christian Tsoumou in the city.

However, the AFP news agency reports some sources as saying the explosions were part of an attack.

The blasts came hours before the start of talks to prepare for July elections.

The main opposition groups boycotted the talks over their demands for an independent electoral commission.

A human rights activist told AFP that the explosions were intended to put pressure on the politicians ahead of the talks.

President Denis Sassou-Nguesso is expected to seek re-election in the July polls.

Brazzaville was the scene of heavy fighting between government forces and rebels loyal to Mr Sassou-Nguesso in 1997.

He has since won two disputed elections.



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