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Explosion On Uzbek Bus Kills Six

A converted Uzbek bus with a propane tank on the roof

A converted Uzbek bus with a propane tank on the roof

TASHKENT -- At least six people were killed and several others injured when a bus exploded in Tashkent on May 11, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Police said the cause of the explosion was a faulty natural gas tank which had been installed on the roof of the bus, which was carrying some 25 textile-factory workers.

High-level Uzbek security officials were at the site of the incident.

The gasoline-powered bus had been converted to use natural gas to save money. Thousands of drivers -- predominantly private taxi drivers -- have switched to using natural gas in Uzbekistan.

In 2007, the Uzbek government ordered a gradual switch from gasoline to natural-gas-powered engines as the latter fuel is more readily available, costs half as much, and is considered more ecologically friendly.

The incident occurred two days before the fifth anniversary of the killings in the southeastern city of Andijon. The government has stepped up security nationwide to ensure there are no commemorations of the 2005 event, in which hundreds of protesters were shot dead by security forces.