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Strong earthquake hits Indonesia

A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 has struck off the Mentawai islands in western Indonesia, the US Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the quake that was centred 121 miles off Bengkulu on Sumatra island, at a depth of 14 miles.

Indonesia is prone to seismic upheavals due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

The quake happened four days after a magnitude 6.1 tremor killed at least 35 people and damaged more than 4,300 houses and buildings in Aceh province.

A magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Aceh in 2004 triggered a tsunami, killing 230,000 people in 14 countries.

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