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Report: Gold Mine Blast in Uzbekistan Kills Dozens

A dispute among rival outlaw gold miners in Uzbekistan has ended with the death of around 25 people in a blast at an abandoned mine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Uzbek service reported on July 17.

Radio Ozodlik reports that the explosion occurred on July 13 at a mine near the village of Kochbulak, around 90 kilometers southeast of the capital, Tashkent.

There has been no official disclosure on the incident, as is typical in Uzbekistan, which has in the past sought to quash all information about major accidents. An Emergency Services Ministry spokesman contacted on July 17 said he was unable to provide any information.

Ozodlik’s unnamed source said villagers from Kochbulak regularly went down a nearby mine in search of gold.

“There was a quarrel between two groups. The losing side set fire to the supporting columns that held up the mine. The masonry fell on top of those that remained inside, some were poisoned by the toxic smoke,” the source told Ozodlik.

A local activist from Kochbulak cited by the broadcaster said rescue workers have recovered at least five bodies.

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Report: Gold Mine Blast in Uzbekistan Kills Dozens

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