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A series of blasts triggered by a fire at a military base in southern Kazakhstan killed five servicemen and wounded 90 people, authorities in the central Asian nation said on Friday.

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

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

Separately, Yermekbayev told Azattyk, the local outlet of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, that he tendered his resignation after the accident.

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

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