Minister in Kazakhstan sacked following ammunition depot blast

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Explosion
Explosion

Kazakh Defence Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev has resigned following deadly explosions at an ammunition depot in which 15 people were killed and 100 were injured last week.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accepted Yermekbayev’s resignation, according to a statement by presidential spokesperson Berik Uali on Facebook on Tuesday.

The new defence minister is Murat Bektanov, the presidential office announced.

There were more than a dozen explosions after a fire broke out at the ammunition depot at a military facility in the Jambyl region of southern Kazakhstan.

The depot was used to store more than 500 tons of explosives, according to Kazakh state media.

Military, civil defence members and emergency services personnel were among those killed or injured.

Debris from the explosions was found as far as 2 kilometres from the blast site. Over 1,000 local residents were temporarily evacuated, but have now returned to their homes.

Some fires continued to burn on Tuesday, according to Kazakh media.

It is unclear what led to the blast, with arson or violations of safety regulations among the possible causes.

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