Saturday, May 18, 2024

Kazakhstan: 225 killed; thousands injured during unrest

At least 4,500 people were injured during the recent riots across Kazakhstan, and 225 bodies were taken to the morgues, Serik Shalabayev, chief of the criminal prosecution service of Kazakhstan’s Prosecutor General’s Office says.

“4,578 victims have been identified. Of those, 4,353 were injured, including 3,393 members of the law enforcement agencies. During the state of emergency, 225 bodies were transported to the country’s morgues,” Shalabayev said.

The prosecutor added that 19 police officers and service members were among those killed.

Shalabayev clarified that some of those killed were “armed bandits who took part in the terrorist acts and attacked buildings and law enforcers.” 

“Regrettably, civilians became victims of the terrorist acts as well,” Shalabayev continued.

The Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry reproted that of those 225 people killed, 175 died at medical facilities.

Protests erupted in several Kazakh cities on January 2, escalating into mass riots with government buildings getting ransacked in several cities, primarily in Almaty, a few days later. The ensuing violence left thousands of people injured, with fatalities also being reported. Subsequently, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to the Collective Security Treaty Organization requesting assistance from the Russia-led bloc. As a result, peacekeepers were deployed to Kazakhstan. Law and order, Kazakh authorities affirm, was restored to all of the country’s regions.

The Kazakh president announced that the post-Soviet security bloc’s forces played a crucial role in stabilizing the situation in Kazakhstan and called their mission successful. On January 13, the CSTO began the pullout of its peacekeeping contingent from the Central Asian republic.

The peacekeeping contingent of the CSTO collective forces will be withdrawn from Kazakhstan by January 19, Secretary General of the CSTO Stanislav Zas said in a televised interview with Belarus-1 channel on Saturday.

“Almost within a week, all the units and all the personnel will be pulled out to their permanent deployment locations. Unless the weather interferes, it is scheduled to return everyone to their permanent deployment locations by January 19, according to the Russian Defense Ministry’s plan,” the CSTO secretary general added.

The situation has returned back to normal in Kazakhstan, but still the law enforcement agencies have much work ahead, he noted.

“It probably is not quite right to say that the situation has returned back to normal,” Zas said, recalling that the state of emergency had not yet been lifted in some regions of Kazakhstan.

“At the same time, the situation is improving, the turning point has been passed, and we can say that the country is getting back to normal life,” the chief of the CSTO added.

Nevertheless, Zas pointed out that Kazakhstan’s law enforcement and special agencies have loads of work to do.

Foreign nationals were among the terrorist groups participating in the unrest in Kazakhstan, but they were not the main participants, he claimed.

“We can say that terrorists group were operating. Among those arrested are foreigners from different countries. You have read about it. Of course, we cannot say that foreigners prevailed there,” he stated.

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