(Update 1: adds Tokayev speech)
Nur-Sultan, Jan 7 (EFE).- Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Friday said he has given express orders to “shoot to kill” protesters without prior notice if they try to resist authorities, in a last-ditch effort to quell a days-long violent uprising.
Kazakh security forces have killed at least 26 people in Almaty, while the federal home ministry said more than 3,000 people had been arrested in the worst unrest in since Kazakhstan became independent from the Soviet Union 30 years ago.
In a message to the nation, Tokayev warned that he would not negotiate “with armed and prepared bandits, both local and foreign.”
“Terrorists continue to damage state and private property” and “use their weapons against citizens,” he said.
“From abroad calls are heard for the parties to carry out conversations with the aim of a peaceful solution. What nonsense! How can you dialogue with criminals and murderers?” he argued.
He added that “the antiterrorist operation continues.”
“The combatants have not laid down their arms, they continue to commit crimes or are preparing to commit new ones. We must carry the fight against them to the end. Those who do not surrender will be eliminated,” he said.
The authorities previously confirmed the deaths of at least 18 security officers, two of whom were found beheaded.
In his speech, Tokayev also lashed out against Kazakh security services for failing to foresee the possibility of an uprising.
“We discovered that we do not have enough special troops, means and special police equipment. We will urgently solve this problem,” he stressed.
According to Tokayev, the protesters’ actions “showed the existence of a precise plan against the military, administrative and social facilities,” in addition to “precise coordination of their actions, high military preparation and cruelty.”
“In addition to the combatants, specialists prepared to carry out ideological sabotage acted,” he added.
Tokayev praised the rapid response of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance that brings together six former Soviet republics, including Russia, and which responded affirmatively to his request to send troops to help solve the political crisis in the Central Asian nation.
He also expressed gratitude to the leaders of China, Uzbekistan and Turkey, as well as to the UN and other international organizations.
But he criticized the “instigating role” of independent media and foreign politicians, whom he accused of “feeling above the law and considering that they have the right to say whatever they want.”
“The irresponsible actions of these regrettable activists distract the police from fulfilling their main responsibilities,” he said.
He blamed them for the internet blackout, “as a result of which the interests of millions of citizens and the national business community are affected.”
“These irresponsible demagogues have become complicit in the development of the tragedy in Kazakhstan,” he said, noting that the government will react with a heavy hand to what he called “acts of legal vandalism.” EFE