Volcano erupts on Comoros island of Njazidja

Johannesburg_(dpa) _ Hundreds of people were fleeing as one of the world's tallest volcanoes erupted on the Comoros islands in the Indian Ocean off Mozambique, news reports said Monday.

Lava was seen bubbling from the top of 2,300-metre Mount Kartala on the largest island of Njazidja early in the day, creating fear among the people in the nearby capital of Moroni.

"We had the opportunity very early this morning to fly over the volcano. It's truly an awesome sight," a media spokesman for the African Union and member of the South African military told South African radio on Monday.

The crater, he said, was about 500 metres in diameter and 150 to 200 metres deep. Lava had already filled to within around 100 metres of the top of the volcano amid reports of some minor tremors indicating activity below ground in the vicinity, he said.

Experts said there was no immediate danger to the population living nearby.

Members of the South African military deployed to the islands to observe the May 14 presidential election were monitoring the volcano that began emitting a thick plume of smoke on Sunday.

Kartala on Njazidja, which was formerly known as Grande Comore, last erupted in April 2005. dpa bve wjh


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