30 injured in Kazakhstan arms depot blast

AFP/Nur Sultan
Filed on August 26, 2021

A fire 'resulted in an explosion of unidentified objects', ministry says.

More than 30 people were injured in Kazakhstan on Thursday in an explosion at an ammunitions depot, 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.

It said that 32 people had been admitted to a hospital in the city of Taraz with various injuries.

The defence ministry said in a statement a fire "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.

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.

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

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 the 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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