The authorities of Kazakhstan have confirmed on Thursday the death of “dozens” of people who tried to break into several administrative buildings in the city of Almaty on Wednesday night in the framework of protests in recent days over the increase in prices of liquefied gas.
Almaty Police spokeswoman Saltanat Azirbek said that “extremist forces attempted to break into administrative buildings,” including the police headquarters. “Dozens of attackers have been eliminated, their identities are being determined,” he added.
He also said that there is an anti-terrorist operation in this area of the city and asked residents to “avoid leaving their homes, for their own safety,” Russian news agency TASS reported. The city police stressed in a statement that the aim is to “establish order”.
Thus, the local police said that “radicalized riot supporters have caused enormous damage to the city and have resisted the legitimate actions of security agencies to establish order and ensure security.”
“The extremists are looting and causing damage to businesses,” he noted, while stressing that “they are endangering the lives and health of civilians, obstructing the work of medical workers and causing damage to clinics and hospitals.”
“The bandits who are acting in Almaty are highly organized, which proves that they were seriously trained abroad,” the Police has reviewed, which has denounced that “their attack against Kazakhstan is an act of aggression and an attempt to disrupt the integrity of the state.”
For its part, the Almaty police commander’s office has put the total number of officers killed in the clashes at thirteen, after eight deaths were confirmed late on Wednesday.
Sources from the office told the Russian news agency Sputnik that “thirteen security officers were killed” and added that the bodies of two of the officers were later decapitated by the attackers.
They also pointed out that more than 350 officers were injured in the protests, while arguing that the fact that some of the bodies were decapitated “is direct proof of the terrorist and extremist nature of the bandit formations that attacked Almaty”.
Kazakh President Kasim Khomart Tokayev addressed the nation on Wednesday to reaffirm that he will act “as harshly as possible” against those responsible for the riots, as well as all those who took part in them.
“Half of the territory of our country is engulfed in unrest. The situation is especially difficult in Almaty (…) and this cannot be tolerated,” he said, before pointing for the first time since the start of the demonstrations to the existence of “several dead and wounded”.
The city of Almaty is for now the main scene of the demonstrations, which have also spread to large cities such as Nursultan, the capital, and Mangistau, for which reason President Tokayev has decreed a state of emergency in several regions and a curfew between 23.00 and 07.00 hours (local time).
In view of this situation, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — a military alliance consisting of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — has announced that it will send troops to Kazakh territory, in response to the president’s request.
“In connection with the request of the president of Kazakhstan and in view of the threat to Kazakhstan’s national security and sovereignty caused, inter alia, by external interference, the CSTO Collective Security Council (…) decided to send the Collective Peacekeeping Forces to Kazakhstan,” Armenian Prime Minister and Council chairman Nikol Pashinian has stressed.