The charred remains of 13 people have been found after a fire at a remote military outpost near Kazakhstan’s south-eastern border with China.
According to the BBC, 12 of the dead are believed to be border guards, while the 13th was a gamekeeper. It is not yet clear whether the victims died in the blaze or were dead before it started, and senior officials say the whereabouts of three other border guards remain unknown.
No official explanation has been provided for the cause of the fire, but deputy frontier service director Turganbek Stambekov said that the bodies were discovered on Wednesday and that the authorities have launched an investigation to uncover what happened, according to the Associated Press.
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Reuters, citing local news agencies, reports that the border post, near Almaty, was provided with extra security during the summer months to prevent the illegal gathering of rare plants that grow in the region and which are used for medicinal purposes.
There has been no history of violence along Kazkakhstan’s 1,530 kilometer border with China since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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