Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Fuel price increases caused the unrest in provincial areas a week ago, but the violence quickly reached large cities.

More than 160 people have been killed and 5,000 arrested in Kazakhstan following the riots that rocked Central Asia’s largest country in the past week.

The Interior Ministry, quoted by local media on Sunday, said initial estimates put property damage at about 175 million euros ($ 198 million) after the deadly violence.

More than 100 businesses and banks were attacked and looted and about 400 vehicles were destroyed, the ministry said.

A total of 164 people, including two children, were killed in violent violence, the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted the Ministry of Health on Sunday.

It said 103 people had been killed in Kazakhstan’s capital, Almaty, where the worst of the violence had taken place.

“Today, the situation has stabilized in all regions of the country,” Interior Minister Erlan Turgumbayev said, adding “the counter-terrorism operation continues in an effort to restore order in the country”.

A relative calm seems to be returning to the capital Almaty with police sometimes firing shots into the air to prevent people from approaching Central Square.

A total of 5,135 people were detained for questioning as part of 125 separate investigations into the unrest, the Interior Ministry said.

Shoot-to-kill policy

The energy-rich country of about 19 million people was rocked by a week of violence with dozens deadmmmail in riots urged President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to reach out shoot-to-kill commands to end unrest, he blamed what he called “bandits and terrorists”.

Fuel price rises unleashed that unrest a week ago in western provincial areas, but they quickly reached major cities, including the Almaty economic center, where riots broke out and police fired live rounds amid the deadliest outbreak of violence in the country’s 30 years of independence.

At Tokayev’s invitation, the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) sent troops to restore order, an intervention that comes at a time of high tensions in Russia-United States relations ahead of new talks on the Ukraine crisis.

“A number of strategic facilities have been transferred under the auspices of the unified peacekeeping contingent of the CSTO member states,” the presidential office said in a statement outlining a security briefing chaired by Tokayev.

It did not identify the facilities.

Former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev was the longest-serving ruler of any former Soviet state until he handed over the presidency to Tokayev in 2019. It is widely believed that his family retained influence in Nur-Sultan, the purpose-built capital that bears his name.

Tokayev removed Nazarbayev as head of the country’s Security Council on Wednesday, a role in which he still wielded significant influence.

Kazakhstan’s former intelligence chief and two-time prime minister Karim Masimov was arrested on suspicion of high treason.

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