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Sri Lanka army base fire and explosions kill one, cause large-scale evacuation

07 June 2016

A fire and series of explosions at the Salawa army camp, about 35 kilometres east of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, killed one soldier and injured eight others on June 5. The explosions sent shrapnel and munitions flying into the surrounding area, damaging hundreds of homes and a government hospital, and forcing thousands of people to evacuate, officials said.

Soldiers managed to douse the flames at the camp, but small blasts were still erupting at an ammunition depot and were expected to continue through June 6, a military spokesman said.
Thousands of residents evacuated from a 5-kilometre radius around the site were allowed to return to their homes on June 6, except within a kilometre from the camp, which soldiers have yet to declare safe.

Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake said the fire started at a small arms depot and then spread to other depots where heavy weapons, such as artillery shells, were stored.

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