Fire guts Comesa headquarters in Zambia

Fire has damaged part of the Secretariat of the 20-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) in Lusaka, Zambia.According to Comesa Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya, Zambia police chief, Martin Malama and security guards at the Secretariat, the fire started past 22:00hours Thursday and was only extinguished at around 04:00hours Friday.

Fire has damaged part of the Secretariat of the 20-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
(Comesa) in Lusaka, Zambia.

According to Comesa Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya, Zambia police chief, Martin Malama and security
guards at the Secretariat, the fire started past 22:00hours Thursday and was only extinguished at around
04:00hours Friday.

A check at the Secretariat found fire raging and huge smoke as Mr Ngwenya ran around in panic, seeking help
from the Zambia Air Force (ZAF), fire brigade department and the National Airport Corporation Limited
(NACL).

The smoke could be seen from neighbouring townships in the city.

“There are absolutely no efforts [to extinguish the fire] because we don’t have the fire brigade. I don’t
know what caused the fire,” Mr Ngwenya said.

He explained that the fire started from the American Centre, but had spread to other buildings.

“At the moment, there is nothing that we can do. We shall just watch the building burning down,” Mr Ngwenya

told journalists around midnight Thursday, adding that there was no sign the fire that started an hour
earlier would be extinguished.

“Property worth millions of dollars has been destroyed. This [secretariat] building is valued at $22
million,” Mr Ngwenya said.

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