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37 dead, dozens missing after tragic mall fire in Russia’s Kemerovo

Gorkha Post

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MOSCOW — At least 37 people have died and dozens other missing in a fire in a shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, Russian news agencies have reported, citing authorities.

State news agency TASS said 69 others were missing, many of them children, and more than 100 people had been evacuated from the complex, which contains cinemas, restaurants and shops.

Several hundred people, including many children, were in the mall at the time. Tragically, some reportedly had left their children unattended in one of the mall’s cinema halls or at the playground.

As rescuers continue to search the burned-out shopping mall, many have been frantically trying to reach their relatives, including children who were in the mall’s cinema or play area when the fire started.

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TASS quoted firefighters as saying 40 of the missing were children, and 43 people were injured in the blaze. It also reported that 13 bodies were found in one of the movie theatres.

Some 37 people were killed in the blaze, the Russian Investigative Committee has confirmed. At least 11 children were among the victims.

Reports from witnesses have described panic as people realized there was a fire spreading, with many saying on social media that there were no fire alarms or loudspeaker warnings, and that people had to find their own way through the top floor of the mall, which was already filled with smoke.

Amid conflicting reports, some have described the source of the fire as the children’s playground, suggesting that the trampoline there caught fire after a child allegedly misused a lighter. Another version suggests that electrical wiring at the playground had short-circuited.

The fire, which broke out on Sunday afternoon, was finally contained some 12 hours later, after engulfing some 1,600 square meters. The building sustained severe damage, its roof and floors partially collapsing.

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32 dead, 1 missing in Papua attacks, Indonesian police say

AP Associated Press

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JAYAPURA, INDONESIA- Security forces tried to recover the bodies of 31 construction workers and a soldier who were killed in one of the worst separatist attacks in Indonesia’s restive province of Papua, officials said Tuesday.

Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed on Sunday when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote mountainous village in Nduga district.

Citing reports from several witnesses, Diaz said, eight other workers fled to the nearby house of a local parliament member, but an armed group came a day later and killed seven of them. However the eighth managed to escape and remains missing.

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“This is the worst attack launched by the armed criminal group recently amid intensified development by the government,” Diaz told The Associated Press.

Separately, Papua province military spokesman Lt. Col. Dax Sianturi said an armed group attacked a military post in Mbua village in the same district late Monday, killing a soldier and injuring another.

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