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Ghana: Melcom department store collapses in Accra, 'many trapped' (VIDEO)

The Achimota Melcom department store collapsed in Ghana's capital, Accra, with dozens of people trapped inside.

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Picture taken November 7, 2012 shows the rubble of the six-story Melcom shopping center that collapsed in Accra, Ghana, trapping dozens of people. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Nine people have died and nearly 70 rescued after a major department store collapsed in Ghana's capital, Accra. 

Rescue efforts continued through the night and into Thursday morning, a day after the multi-story Melcom storeh collapsed just minutes before it was to open for business. 

The BBC said 69 people have been pulled out alive from the ruins.

Photos and videos showed a chaotic scene in the hours after the building's collapse as emergency workers tried desperately to search for survivors, thronged by media and crowds of bystanders.

The multi-story Melcom building, described as "ultra modern," is located in the Achimota suburb of Accra, Myjoyonline.com said.

The cause of the collapse is still unclear.

"I was on my way to school and all of a sudden heard a big bang and people shouting, only for me to see that the shopping mall has collapsed," witness John Owusu told Agence France-Presse.

The Melcom Group of Companies owns Ghana's biggest chain of retail department stores, according to the company's website. It is owned by an Indian family that has lived in Ghana for generations, the Telegraph said.

Melcom official Vitalina Adjimani told Reuters: "Our concern is not about the loss of property but it's about human lives."

"This is a tragedy and we are very much concerned about those trapped in there," she said. 

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama posted a message on Twitter shortly after the collapse:

Mahama, who is standing for re-election next month, cut short a campaign visit to a northern area of Ghana to return to Accra and tour the disaster site.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/ghana/121107/ghana-melcom-department-store-collapses-accra-many-trapped