Kazakhstan: Several killed in blasts at arms depot

A series of blasts triggered by a fire at a military base in southern Kazakhstan killed nine servicemen and wounded 90 people, officials said Friday.

According to the country’s defense minister, the soldiers died while trying to put out the fire which triggered some 10 blasts.

The Defense Ministry said that a fire broke out on Thursday at an ammunitions depot in the southern region of Jambyl.

The blaze quickly spread to storage facilities where engineering ammunition is stored.

The ministry counted six blasts but other reports suggested there were up to 10.

Videos showed a large fire and a tall column of smoke emanating from the depot.

Four soldiers were initially reported to have been killed. The ministry later said nine people had died.

The Jambyl regional government said that of more than 90 who received treatment for injuries, 28 remained in hospital with six in serious condition.

All of the casualties were members of the military or rescue workers, the Kazakh agency Tengrinews reported.

Local authorities evacuated people from the villages closest to the site of the accident.

More than 1,000 people had to temporarily leave their homes and a railway line was closed.

The main road linking the province to Almaty, the country’s business hub and biggest city, was shut.

The exact cause of the incident has not been established but Defense Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev has offered to resign.

Some of the munitions stored at the Soviet-era depot had been transferred from another depot in the adjacent Turkestan region, where three lethal explosions took place in the last decade.

In one incident in 2019, authorities had to evacuate a whole town of 44,000 people.

Related Articles

Back to top button