At least 26 killed in Kazakhstan street unrest

Nur-Sultan, Jan 7 (EFE).- The Kazakh forces have killed at least 26 people in an “anti-terror” operation in Almaty to end violent street protests that have rocked the Central Asian country, said the authorities.

The federal home ministry said security forces arrested more than 3,000 people, while 18 “armed” people suffered injuries in the worst street unrest in the last three decades of the Kazakh independence.

The authorities previously confirmed the death of at least 18 security officers, two of whom were found beheaded.

Kazakh President Kasim-Yomart Tokáyev has described the protesters as terrorists who have taken to the streets since Dec.2.

The president alleged that a group of instigators was orchestrating the protests, but he did not elaborate.

The protests initially began against the rising fuel prices.

But the unrest quickly evolved into an anti-government movement in the former Soviet state, governed by Nursultan Nazarbayev for nearly 30 years before he handpicked Tokayev as his successor on Mar.20, 2019.

The president alleged that the country was facing a “terrorist threat” and asked for help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led military alliance.

The alliance groups six countries and some of its peacekeeping forces have already arrived to bring the situation under control.

Tokayev said the CSTO peacekeeping forces have arrived in the country for a limited period to protect strategic objectives.

The president was addressing a security meeting at the anti-terrorist headquarters.

He did not reveal the number of foreign troops to support the Kazakh forces, even as an estimated 3,000 have already landed in the country.

Tokayev said the order “has been restored in all regions of the country and the local authorities have the situation under control.”

“The anti-terrorist operation will continue” until armed terrorists get wiped out, he said.

Tengrinews, a Kazakh portal, reported on its Telegram account that the government had enforced the “red” level of terror threat across the country, giving forces wide-ranging powers to conduct operations that allow them to restrict the citizen movement temporarily.

The interior ministry said security forces installed 70 checkpoints in the country. EFE


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