Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

Nineteen members of the security forces were among the dead, say top law enforcers.

Deadly violence in Kazakhstan that began peaceful protests over energy prices and caused the government to enlist the help of a Russian-led military bloc killed 225 people, authorities announced.

“During the emergency, the bodies of 225 people were delivered to mortuaries, of which 19 were law enforcement and military personnel,” Serik Shalabayev, a representative of the public prosecutor, said during a briefing on Saturday.

Some others were “armed bandits who took part in terrorist attacks”, Shalabayev added.

“Unfortunately, civilians have also become victims of acts of terrorism.”

Police officers hold a demonstrator during a demonstration in Almaty, KazakhstanPolice officers hold a demonstrator during a demonstration in Almaty, Kazakhstan [File: Vladimir Tretyakov/AP Photo]

Kazakhstan has previously acknowledged fewer than 50 deaths, 26 “armed criminals” and 18 security officials in the conflict that exposed infighting at the top of the government.

A higher death toll of 164, which appeared on an official Telegram channel last week, was quickly withdrawn.

Asel Artakshinova, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said more than 2,600 people had sought treatment at hospitals, with 67 currently in a serious condition.

Authorities in Kazakhstan have blamed the violence on bandits and international “terrorists” who they say hijacked the protests that moved the epicenter of unrest from the west to the country’s largest city, Almaty.

Russian troops boarding a military cargo plane with landing in Ivanovo after completing their mission in Kazakhstan.Russian troops boarding a military cargo plane landing in Ivanovo after completing their mission in Kazakhstan [Russian Defence Ministry/AFP]

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to a Russia-led military bloc for help during the unrest and set aside his former patron and predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev by taking over the National Security Council.

Troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an alliance of six former Soviet states, helped calm the violence in the Central Asian country and began a gradual withdrawal on Thursday.

After complaints about beatings and torture of those detained in the aftermath, Tokayev ordered police on Saturday to avoid abuse and told prosecutors to be lenient toward those who did not commit serious crimes.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that all its planes carrying troops had returned. It was not clear whether troops from other CSTO countries remained in Kazakhstan.

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