Conflicts & War

Kazakhstan says crackdown on protests averted Jihad

Nur-Sultan, Feb 23 (EFE).- Kazakhstan’s crackdown on violent protests last month prevented “terrorists,” on orders originating from Syria, from launching a “Jihad” in the Central Asian republic, Kazakh Secretary of State Erlan Karin has confirmed.

Karin told Efe during a meeting late Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that violent disturbances in January, which left nearly 240 dead and 4,600 injured in 11 regions of the country, began as peaceful demonstrations that were used by radical sectors, and later by terrorists, to try to destabilize a nation that is embarking on reforms.

He said that the Jihad declaration came from a “Kazakh leader” from Syria in an online message that was to be broadcast on social networks.

“If they did not act as they did” with troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and the message had been spread among the rioters, a Jihad would have been unleashed, he said.

The Government of Kazakhstan on Monday said it would publish “in mid-March” the preliminary results of its investigation into the riots, which resulted in some 10,000 arrests. About 470 people accused of terrorism and participating in the most violent incidents are currently still imprisoned.

Karin pointed out that in other cities, including Aktau, the capital of Mangystau province, more than 20,000 people took part in demonstrations against the rise in gas prices, with no incidents between protesters and unarmed police.

However, in Almaty and other regions, organized violent riots that resulted in deaths broke out and would have turned into a Jihad on orders from “a Kazakh leader” who was trained in Afghanistan by European radicals and who has been known to collaborate with terrorist groups in Europe.

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