Three containers filled with explosives meant for road construction detonated Friday. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Ubaya Medawala said he initially feared, incorrectly, that the death toll was as high as 60, in light of the enormity of the damage caused by the blast.
Images of the blast on Maharaja Television showed the police station reduced to rubble.
Medawala said the explosion killed 16 policemen and nine civilians - including two Chinese citizens - and wounded 52 others. Among the civilian casualties were farmers visiting a nearby agriculture office and passers by.