US Central Command extends sympathy over Kazakh munitions depot explosion


NUR-SULTAN -- US Central Command (CENTCOM) expressed condolences to those affected by explosions at a munitions depot in Arys earlier this week, Kazinform reported Wednesday (June 26).

The death toll, previously reported as two, has risen to three, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Wednesday, identifying the new fatality as an army sergeant who died of his injuries.

Authorities evacuated Arys, a town of 40,000 inhabitants, following a blast Monday (June 24) that the Defence Ministry said was caused by a fire that caused ammunition to explode. Security concerns prompted the evacuation.

Residents have been evacuated to Shymkent and the villages of Muntaitas, Kabylsai and Shagyr, which are situated 25km to 35km away from the explosion's epicentre.

"CENTCOM extends its heartfelt sympathies to the residents of Arys and the people of Kazakhstan," the command said in a statement Tuesday.

"We stand behind the government, our military partners and the people of Kazakhstan who are our valued friends and partners in the region. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible disaster," the statement said.

The US Embassy shared the CENTCOM statement on its Facebook page, adding that the diplomatic mission also extended condolences.

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