Blasts at Kazakh military base kill 12

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At least 12 people are known to have died following a series of explosions at an ammunition depot in Kazakhstan, the country's Emergency Situations Ministry has announced.

Around 100 people, all military, civil defence members and emergency services personnel, were injured in the blast, which took place on Thursday evening at a military facility in the Jambyl region of southern Kazakhstan.

According to Kazakh state media, the ammunition depot is used to store more than 500 tons of explosives.

Debris from the explosions was found as far as 2 kilometres from the blast site. Over 1,000 local residents were temporarily evacuated.

The Ministry of Defence said that there had been approximately 10 explosions. Hundreds of rescue workers, firefighters and soldiers were present at the scene.

Photos of the military compound on Friday showed several burnt-out buildings near the town of Taras. Videos posted online showed a large fire and a tall column of smoke.

The cause of the explosions remains unclear and is still under investigation, according to Kazakhstan's Defence Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev, who offered his resignation over the incident.

Foul play has not been ruled out, and the investigation will also determine whether any safety regulations were broken.

A similar incident occurred two years ago, also in the south of the country, leaving 165 people injured and several dead.

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