60 injured in Kazakhstan arms depot blast

By: AFP      Published: 11:46 PM, 26 Aug, 2021
60 injured in Kazakhstan arms depot blast

Dozens of people were injured on Thursday in an explosion at an ammunitions depot in Kazakhstan, as authorities evacuated residents of nearby villages. 

The blast took place at a defence ministry arms depot in the southern Jambyl region, the local government said in a statement. 

The Jambyl government said that 60 people, including 11 members of the military, had been admitted to a hospital in the city of Taraz with various injuries.

Residents of four villages, including one of 250 people less than a kilometre from the site of the blast, were being evacuated, the statement said.  

A spokesperson for the Jambyl government told the Interfax news agency that nobody had died in the blast. "There are no deaths," the agency quoted the spokesperson as saying.

The defence ministry said in a statement that a fire at one of its depots in Jambyl had "resulted in an explosion of unidentified objects".

It added that fire services were working on extinguishing the blaze and that a commission had been set up to determine the cause.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Twitter that the injured were soldiers and emergency services workers.

A video shared on the Telegram messaging app that could not be verified immediately showed a column of smoke billowing from a fire before a powerful explosion sent flames shooting out. 

In 2019, a munitions dump explosion near the town of Arys in the adjacent Turkestan region killed two people and injured scores as tens of thousands were evacuated. 

That blast was the third lethal explosion in the town's vicinity in the space of a decade. 

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