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22 killed in mine blast in Siberia

Moscow An explosion ripped through a mine in a coal-rich region of Siberia on Wednesday, killing at least 22 workers and leaving three missing in the latest accident in an industry plagued by dilapidated shafts, aging equipment and safety violations.

A group of miners had been trying to keep a fire from spreading through the 20-year-old Yesaulskaya mine in the Kemerovo region when the blast erupted.

Five miners were hospitalized with injuries, said Olga Raskova of the Kemerovo regional government press service. One was in serious condition.

Thirty miners had been in the shaft when the blast occurred at the mine, about 1,850 miles east of Moscow, the press service said.

A duty officer for the Kemerovo regional Emergency Situations Ministry said 22 miners were confirmed dead late Wednesday, and three were unaccounted for.

“A shock wave came and it hurled us all, thrown into somersaults like in a circus,” miner Andrei Pshenichnikov, his face covered with cuts, said from his hospital bed in footage broadcast on NTV television. “Then I walked along the track, I don’t remember how long. I met security guards and they helped me.”

Colombia fighting leaves 28 dead

Bogota, Colombia Marxist rebels killed at least 17 soldiers during clashes in northwest Colombia, the military’s heaviest battle toll in two years, officials said Wednesday. At least 11 guerrillas also died in the fighting.

Gen. Carlos Alberto Ospina, the nation’s armed forces chief, said two soldiers were wounded and eight others left missing following the third rebel clash with government troops this month.

He said the fighting erupted Tuesday when army soldiers opened fire on a column of rebels belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which appeared poised to attack the mountain village of Mutata.

Ospina said during a news conference that the 11 rebels died in that clash and the others fled, returning hours later with reinforcements.

The guerrillas renewed the fight against the military and the battle raged into early Wednesday. Ospina said the 17 soldiers were killed but did not say if there were any more rebel deaths.

The FARC have been known to intimidate and often kill villagers who are frequently forced to take sides in Colombia’s four-decade conflict.

On Feb. 1, FARC rebels killed 16 Colombian marines and wounded 25 more when they fired homemade rockets at a base in southwest Colombia. The next day, an army patrol in south-central Colombia drove over explosives planted by the FARC, killing eight soldiers and one civilian and injuring four other soldiers.

Truck loses brakes, kills 20 at Carnival

Luanda, Angola A truck lost its brakes and crashed into a crowd of Carnival revelers in southern Angola, killing 20 people and injuring about 70, officials said Wednesday.

The truck picked up speed as it came down a hill Tuesday in Lubango, a city about 430 miles south of Luanda, the capital, and flattened two police barriers before smashing into a mid-afternoon Carnival procession along a main street, provincial vice governor Firmino Silipuleni said.

The truck driver survived and was under arrest, Silipuleni said.

About 15,000 people were gathered for the city’s annual Carnival celebrations, Silipuleni told a news conference broadcast by Luanda-based Ecclesia radio station.

Some of the dead were in the procession. Others were lined along the street to watch, according to Silipuleni. Several police officers also were killed, he said.


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