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Turkmenistan to move residents to new town after massive 2011 arms dump explosion

31 May 2012

According to, authorities in Turkmenistan will move many of the inhabitants of the town of Abadan, which was devastated by the explosion of a large arms storage facility on July 7, 2011 to a new town being built in the Ruhabat District, a few kilometres closer to the capital, Ashgabat.

Up to 200 are thought to have been killed in the Abadan weapons dump explosion in 2011
Up to 200 are thought to have been killed in the Abadan weapons dump explosion in 2011

Initially, authorities denied both that there had been an explosion and that anyone had died. But with videos airing on Russian-language newscasts and reappearing on international news sites, after three days authorities admitted that a fireworks factory had caught fire in the summer heat and that 15 people had died. A month later, authorities declared “life was back to normal in Abadan.”

The official death toll contrasted sharply with independent reports claiming that up to 200 civilians died when the storage facility exploded. The government reportedly buried victims in mass graves as part of their cover-up. 

Last February, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov officially declared that Abadan would be moved and rebuilt.

The government has launched an international tender to rebuild the town, which originally had 50,000 residents. This will include buildings, homes, schools and all utilities. Interested firms must submit their applications to the construction ministry by June 6.

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