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Blasts at Kazakh munitions store kill nine

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By Reuters

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan -Blasts triggered by a fire at a Kazakh munitions storage facility killed nine servicemen and firefighters and wounded 90 others, authorities in the central Asian nation said on Friday.

Four people remained missing, the government said.

It is unclear what caused Thursday’s fire at the military base in the southern province of Zhambyl where engineering explosives were stored, Defence Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev told a briefing.

The soldiers and firefighters died while trying to put out the fire which triggered ten blasts, he added, saying the stored explosives had come from a facility in the town of Arys after a similar event there in 2019 which killed four people.

Separately, Yermekbayev’s spokesman said the minister was ready to resign after dealing with the consequences of the accident. The final decision will be in the hands of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, he said.

Authorities evacuated hundreds of people from the nearby area and closed the main road linking the province to the biggest city of Almaty.