Serbian ammunition factory badly damaged after explosions

It was the third major explosion to hit Serbian ammunition dumps and arms factories in recent years.

Serbian ammunition factory badly damaged after explosions

A series of explosions badly damaged an ammunition factory in the central Serbian town of Cacak on Monday, but there were no casualties, officials said.

The factory is owned by Sloboda, which produces artillery ammunition, propellants and explosives, and home appliances.

"Workers escaped unharmed and are now being evacuated," factory union head Dragan Jekic told Reuters. A similar blast killed three Sloboda workers in 2003 and two were injured in smaller incidents earlier this year.

Predrag Maric, head of the interior ministry's emergencies department, said the first explosion took place at 4.45 p.m. (1545 GMT) and was followed by a series of secondary blasts.

"According to workers who escaped the blast, part of the ammunition production line went off, but we still cannot approach the area until all explosions end," Maric said. "Initially we believed it was an ammunition warehouse."

The Sloboda plant was badly damaged in 1999 by NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia. The Serbian arms industry has since recovered and exports weapons and ammunition for small arms and artillery to Asian and African countries as well as the West.

It was the third major explosion to hit Serbian ammunition dumps and arms factories in recent years. Four years ago a depot in central Serbia exploded, injuirng 22 people, and in 2009 a blast in an ammunition plant in west Serbia killed six people.


Reuters

Last Mod: 28 Aralık 2010, 10:57
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