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Explosion kills 7 at Peru weapons depot

Official: Blast appears accidental


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LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- An explosion tore through an army base weapons depot in northern Peru Thursday, killing seven soldiers and injuring nearly 100 other people, officials said.

Vice President Raul Diez Canseco told reporters 15 soldiers and 80 civilians who live around the base were injured. Two lieutenants and a corporal were among the injured, he said. Most were treated for cuts and bruises.

A 9-year-old boy was in serious condition with multiple fractures, he said.

President Alejandro Toledo was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Tulio Nicolini, general commander of the firefighters, said the explosion at the July 24 Army Base Depot appeared to have been accidental.

Defense Minister Aurelio Loret de Mola was en route from Lima to the army base in Tumbes, a coastal city 800 miles north, near the border with Ecuador.

Army Chief Commander Roberto Chiabra said the incident occurred while battalion personnel guarding the weapons dump were changing posts.

The explosion was felt throughout the city, Nicolini said, and a number of homes in the surrounding residential area were damaged by the shock wave.

The fire was brought under control by 11:30 a.m., about an hour and a half after the blast, authorities said.

Journalist Claudia Cisneros contributed to this report.


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