Ruled for decades by Nursultan Nazarbayevn, Kazakhstan is considered Central Asia's most stable state [AFP]

A suspected suicide bomber has wounded several people near a security service building in the northern Kazakh city of Aktobe, Interfax news agency reported, citing unidentified security sources.

Nobody apart from the suspected bomber was killed in the attack, Interfax reported on Tuesday.

"A suicide bomber detonated an unknown device in front of the regional security services building. As a result of the explosion, there are casualties," a source within the security services told Interfax.

A local photographer told the Reuters news agency by telephone from Aktobe, located near the Russian border, that the suicide bomber had blown himself up at the regional headquarters of the National Security Committee, Kazakhstan's domestic security police.

Search for accomplices

He said reinforced police units had cordoned off a block of the city of 277,000 inhabitants. Media reports said the security police were searching for alleged accomplices.

Security officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Kazakhstan's tightly-controlled state television has yet to broadcast any reports on the event.

The prosecutor's office is to give a briefing later in the afternoon on the incident.

Oil-rich, mainly Muslim Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest economy, has to date avoided outbreaks of violence that have occurred in ex-Soviet neighbours Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Such an attack is a rare event in Kazakhstan, the most stable state in Central Asia which has been run since even before the fall of the Soviet Union by president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Source: Agencies