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164 people killed in Kazakhstan unrest Almaty

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164 people killed in Kazakhstan unrest Almaty

More than 100 people have died in Kazakhstan in the wake of the violent unrest that has rocked the largest Central Asian country this week, media reported Sunday, citing the Health Ministry.

The energy-rich nation of 19 million people has been rocked by a week of turmoil with nearly 6,000, including several foreigners, detained in the unrest.

At least 164 people were killed in the riots, including 103 in the largest city, Almaty, which saw some of the fiercest clashes between protesters and police.

The new figures mark a dramatic increase in the death toll, as officials previously said that 26 “armed criminals” had been killed and 16 security agents had died.

In all, 5,800 people have been detained for questioning, the presidency said in a statement Sunday.

The figures included “a substantial number of foreign nationals,” he said without elaborating.

“The situation has stabilized in all regions of the country,” even if the security forces continued with “clean-up” operations, the statement added after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held a crisis meeting.

Fuel price hikes sparked riots that broke out a week ago in western provincial areas but quickly spread to large cities, including the economic center Almaty, where riots broke out and police opened fire with live ammunition.

The Interior Ministry, quoted by local media on Sunday, estimated the material damage at around 175 million euros (199 million dollars).

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

Relative calm seemed to have returned to Almaty, with police sometimes firing into the air to arrest people approaching the city’s central square, an AFP correspondent said.

Supermarkets reopened on Sunday, media reported, amid fears of food shortages.

Kazakhstan said on Saturday that its former security chief had been arrested on suspicion of treason, as Russia responded to criticism from the United States about the deployment of troops in the crisis-stricken country.

The news of the arrest of Karim Masimov, a former prime minister and former ally of former Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, came amid speculation about a power struggle in the former Soviet nation.

The national intelligence agency, the Committee for National Security (KNB), announced that Masimov had been detained on Thursday on suspicion of high treason.

President Tokayev fired Masimov after protests escalated into widespread violence, with government buildings in Almaty stormed and burned.

Masimov, 56, was fired at the height of the unrest on Wednesday, when Tokayev also replaced Nazarbayev as head of the powerful security council.

Nazarbayev’s spokesman, Aidos Ukibay, again denied on Sunday rumors that the former president had left the country, saying he supported the president.

Ukibay added that Nazarbayev voluntarily gave up control of the security council.

In a hardline speech to the nation on Friday, Tokayev said 20,000 “armed bandits” had attacked Almaty and authorized his forces to shoot to kill without warning.

Much of the public anger appeared to be directed at Nazarbayev, who is 81 years old and ruled Kazakhstan since 1989 before handing over power.

Many protesters shouted “old man out!” in reference to Nazarbayev, and a statue of him was torn down in the southern city of Taldykorgan.

Critics accuse him and his family of maintaining control behind the scenes and accumulating great wealth at the expense of ordinary citizens.

The whole picture of the chaos has often been unclear, with widespread communication disruptions, including internet blackouts for days.

Flights to the country have been repeatedly canceled and the Almaty airport will remain closed “until the situation stabilizes,” authorities said Sunday.

Tokayev thanked the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for sending troops to help deal with the unrest.

The CSTO has been sending several thousand troops to Kazakhstan, including Russian paratroopers, who have been securing strategic sites.

Tokayev says the deployment will be temporary, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Friday that Kazakhstan could have trouble getting them out.

“I think a lesson from recent history is that once the Russians are in your house, it is sometimes very difficult to get them to leave,” Blinken told reporters.

Tensions between Moscow and the West are at an all-time high after the Cold War over fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and talks between Russia and the United States will take place in Geneva on Monday, after a working dinner. Sunday night.

Russia has ruled out any concessions in the talks.

“We will not accept any concessions. That is completely excluded, ”said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Sunday.

“We are disappointed with the signals that have arrived in recent days from Washington but also from Brussels.”

Source Credit: TheGuardian

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