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3 dead, dozens injured as blast rocks Coatzacoalcos facility

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MEXICO CITY — A blast at an oil facility in south-eastern Mexico has killed at least three workers, injured 30 more and triggered a mass evacuation, officials and state-run energy giant Pemex said.

A huge plume of toxic grey smoke could be seen spewing from the plant known as Pajaritos, in the city of Coatzacoalcos.

The blast, which was felt from as far as 10 kilometres away, forced the evacuation of nearby schools and businesses.

The cause of the explosion at the Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo plant was not immediately known. The facility is jointly owned by Pemex.

Veracruz state governor Javier Duarte told Milenio Television that the blast killed three people at the plant.

Mr Duarte rushed to the scene of what he said was “a very strong explosion”, as fire crews were battling to bring the fierce blaze under control.

People living in the vicinity were ordered to remain indoors.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter that the government would help the “affected workers and neighbours of the area.”

Fires at oil facilities in Mexico are fairly regular occurrences.

In February, two people were killed and at least seven injured in a blaze at a Pemex oil platform off the coast of Campeche, also in the south-east.

AFP

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Nirmala Panta’s murder accused held after 24 days

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KANCHANPUR — Police in Kanchanpur have made public an accused arrested in connection with the murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality.

Dilip Singh Bista, 41, of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality was made public at a press conference at the DPO. Bista was arrested on Saturday,according to the District Police Office Spokesperson Deputy Superintendent of Police Gyan Bahadur Sethi.

Nirmala was found dead in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

Bista,who was released from prison last year after serving nine years for murdering his brother-in-law Narayansingh Thapa, works as a daily-wage labourer.

According to Bista’s statement to police, he helped Nirmala fix her bicycle chain before raping and killing her on July 26. He told police that killed her to avoid being arrested again.

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