Kazakhstan: Burnt bodies found at China border post

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Thirteen charred bodies have been found at a burnt-out border post near Kazakhstan's frontier with China.

It is thought that 12 of the dead were border guards, and the other was a gamekeeper. Three other border guards are missing, a senior official says.

It is unclear whether they died in the fire, or were killed beforehand.

The post near Almaty is staffed only during the summer to prevent people crossing illegally into Kazakhstan to collect medicinal plants, reports say.

The circumstances behind the deaths remain unclear. But the dead guards' weapons were found at the scene, an official told Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency.

A team of investigators is working at the scene in south-east Kazakhstan, in the Tian Shan mountain range.

"At present, the charred remains of 13 bodies have been found, including the body of a gamekeeper from a hunting reserve adjacent to the border post," Turganbek Stambekov of the border guards service said in a statement.

He said the bodies were discovered on Wednesday, but gave no details about those missing.

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