Cambodia blast: 20 soldiers killed in ammunition explosion

Smoke billows from the warehouse following an explosion at an army base in Kampong Speu province
The explosion happened at an army warehouse in Kampong Speu province [Getty Images]

Twenty soldiers have been killed in an ammunition explosion at a military base in Cambodia, officials say.

Prime Minister Hun Manet said he was "deeply shocked" by the blast in country's southern Kampong Speu province on Saturday.

No explanation has been given for the explosion.

The prime minister has instructed the government to pay compensation to deceased soldiers' families, as well as injured soldiers.

In a statement on Facebook, Mr Manet said he wanted to express his "deepest condolences" to the families of the soldiers killed.

In unverified footage on social media multiple explosions can be heard in the incident, which happened at around 14:45 local time (07:45 GMT)

Other images show a destroyed warehouse, a damaged military truck and a child with gashes being treated by medical staff.

Cambodia's army said the incident was a "warehouse ammunition explosion" that destroyed a truck fully loaded with weaponry.

An office building as well as nearby barracks were destroyed, with 25 nearby home affected, news agency AFP reported.

Mr Manet said authorities will urgently arrange and pay for a funeral ceremony for the soldiers who died in the incident.

The families of those killed will also receive $20,000 (£16,000), while injured soldiers will get $5,000.

"I would like to pray for the soul of the soldiers to rest in peace, and also wish the soldiers and victims a speedy recovery," he said.

In 2005, five Cambodians died and three were injured after an explosion at a military arms depot near Battambang.

Map of Kampong Speu