Deaths mount as Kazakh leader says order ‘mainly restored’

Deaths mount as Kazakh leader says order 'mainly restored'

Deaths mount as Kazakh leader says order 'mainly restored'

Order has been mostly restored in Kazakhstan after days of unprecedented violence that saw a Moscow-led military alliance send troops to help quell unrest.

“The constitutional order has been mainly restored in all regions,” President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a statement after meeting with top officials.

“But terrorists are still using weapons, causing damage to civilian property. The counter-terrorist operation will continue until the total destruction of the militants,” he added.

Security forces have taken all the country’s regions “under increased protection” and that 26 “armed criminals” had been killed and 18 wounded in the unrest, the interior ministry said on Friday.

Tokayev also confirmed that a peacekeeping force from the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) had arrived in Kazakhstan, the alliance’s first major joint action since its founding in 1999.

He said it would stay “for a limited period” and ensure “the protection of strategic facilities.”

Biggest threat to government

The interior ministry said on Friday that it had detained about 3,000 people.

Officials said more than 1,000 people had been wounded in the unrest, with nearly 400 admitted to hospital and 62 in intensive care.

Protests spread across the nation of 19 million this week in outrage over a New Year increase in prices for liquid petroleum gas (LPG), which is used to fuel many cars in the country.

The full picture of the chaos was often unclear, with widespread disruptions to communications including mobile phone signals, the blocking of online messengers and hours-long internet shutdowns.

The protests are the biggest threat so far to the Tokayev government.

Russia said it saw the unrest as “an attempt inspired from outside to undermine the security and integrity” of Kazakhstan.

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    Written by Ericson Mangoli

    Ericson Mangoli is a researcher and a freelancer journalist, his work has been published by African Stand, Financial Stand, African Policy, and Kenyan Report.

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