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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Military prosecutors start probe into arsenal blast

ROC Central News Agency

2011/10/31 16:41:55

By Chen Pei-huang, Justin Su, Lung Jui-yun and Lilian Wu

Taipei, Oct. 31 (CNA) Military prosecutors have begun a probe into the cause of an Oct. 28 arsenal blast that left two people dead and six injured, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Monday.

The MND said in a news release that military prosecutors invited experts from the Criminal Investigation Bureau, the National Fire Agency, the Central Police University and the Society of Explosives and Propellants to the scene of the blast to collect evidence and make a forensic study of the blast site at the arsenal in Yilan County that morning.

Meanwhile that day, Liu Fu-long, director of the Armaments Bureau, apologized on behalf of the ministry to the relatives of the victims and the public for the blast.

He extended the apology at a news conference convened by ruling Kuomintang legislators who questioned if the destruction of a batch of flash grenades had been conducted according to standard procedure.

"The operation conformed with the standard procedure, which was written 10 years ago and has been revised and adjusted every year," he said.

He also said the blast might have been caused by friction between chemicals that ignited the flash agent when military personnel tried to remove the top of one of the grenades.

Also Monday, the Tri-Service General Hospital said that five of the injured were not yet out of the woods and three of them would require kidney dialysis.

The ministry has promised to take care of the funeral expenses and pay compensation to the families of the dead, and to provide the best possible medical treatment for the injured.

The two who died in the blast -- a military staffer and a temporary employee -- will receive compensation of NT$13 million (US$434,666) and NT$12 million, respectively, according to the MND.

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