Horrifying death toll
According to the latest information we have just received from reliable sources the death toll in explosions near Ashgabat amounted to 1382 people. One third of them are said to be children. Many of those injured died in hospitals.
127 privately-owned residential buildings were completely destroyed in the village of Gunesh, located in the immediate vicinity of the exploded arms depot.
For two days a team from the Russian Emergency Ministry has been working at the explosions site. According to our sources, the Turkmen President was against their arrival but since there is a shortage of highly qualified staff in Turkmenistan, he was forced to give his consent.
We are receiving updated detailed reports about the accident.
As it became known, on July 7 missiles smashed the city hospital and two shells landed on the maternity home. At least 30 people were killed including newborn infants. On July 7 a group of over thirty schoolchildren was heading for their IT class to the school located near GRES (electric power station). Based on eyewitness account, exploding shells hit a group of kids directly, nobody survived and only fragments of bodies were found.
According to a former officer from this military unit, the blast occurred in a small storage facility located separately from other depots. If the entire arms depot had been exploded, then blasts would have lasted for a month rather than a day.
An informed source in the Ministry of Defense says that the explosions were caused by negligence and violation of safety rules for ordnance storage.
“Each storage facility has several stores. The top level must be covered with a water tank of more than one meter high. Even if a slightest blast occurred, all water would pour down. If all prevention measures had been observed, none of the shells would have exploded even in case of air attack”, - he says.
Moreover, on the night of evacuation local residents said that since recently the order on the transfer of the military unit from Abadan to Kelyat, where military trainings are held on an annual basis, has been executed. On the day of explosions the works on opening storage facilities and their transfer were underway. It is quite probable that the tragedy was caused by the negligence over ordnance handling.
The above-mentioned source claims that that the version about stolen ordnance and alleged cover-up of illegal arms dealing has no grounds.
“A commission either from the National Security Ministry, the Defense Ministry or secret services pays monthly visits to this storage facility or other arms depots and makes detailed inventories counting each bullet, each gun and each shell. In case a person is caught with even one bullet, he will face an imprisonment term of 12 years for its storage pursuant to our law! Surely, this is negligence”, - he says.