17 soldiers killed in Hunan explosion

Accident happened as soldiers were moving explosives in an armoury in Hengyang

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 11:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 11:13am


Seventeen soldiers have been killed in an accidental explosion at an armoury in central Hunan province, state media reported.

Xinhua news agency said the blast ripped through the building in Hengyang city as the soldiers were stacking explosives inside on Tuesday afternoon. The cause of the blast is under investigation.

A Hengyang city policewoman confirmed the accident on Wednesday. She said no civilians were injured.

The military operates with a high degree of secrecy and information about explosions, plane crashes and other accidents is usually tightly controlled.

While the explosion is believed to be an accident, security forces on the mainland have come under attack in recent years from Islamic extremists fighting for independence for the northwestern region of Xinjiang.