President of Kazakhstan Orders Soldiers to Shoot to Kill to Protests
Kazakhstan‘s president said on Friday that he had ordered his forces to shoot to kill to deal with riots sparked by those he called bandits and terrorists, the day after Russia sent troops to help quell an uprising across the country.
Security forces appeared to be in control of the streets of the country’s main city, Almaty, as of Friday morning, but gunfire could still be heard after days of disturbances in which dozens of people were killed and public buildings looted and set on fire.
“The militants have not laid down their weapons, they continue to commit crimes or prepare for them. The fight against them must be carried through to the end. Anyone who does not surrender will be destroyed,” President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a televised address.
“I gave the order to the security agencies and the army to shoot to kill, without warning.”
Tokayev blames internationally trained terrorists for the Central Asian country’s worst episode of violence in 30 years of independence.
Russia’s Defense Minister, said that more than 70 planes were making non-stop travel to take Russian troops to Kazakhstan, and that they are now helping to control Almaty’s main airport, which was recaptured on Thursday. protesters.
The demonstrations began as a response to rising fuel prices and then escalated into a movement against the government and 81-year-old former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, the longest-running ruler of all the former Soviet republics.
Nazarbayev handed the presidency to Tokayev three years ago, but his family is widely believed to have retained power in Nur-Sultan, the capital built especially for the government and named after the former president.
The Interior Ministry said 26 “armed criminals” had been “liquidated”, while 18 members of the police and national guard had been killed since the protests began, figures that appear not to have been updated since Thursday. The state television channel reported more than 3,700 arrests.
By Friday morning, fresh gunfire could be heard near the main square in Almaty, where troops had fought protesters during the previous day. Reuters correspondents saw armored troop transport vehicles occupying the square.
A few hundred meters away, a corpse was in a heavily damaged car. In another part of the city, an ammunition store had been looted.
Widespread unrest was reported in a number of other cities across the vast country of 19 million people. The Internet has been cut off in the country since Wednesday, making it difficult to determine the full extent of the violence.
President of Kazakhstan Orders Soldiers to Shoot to Kill to Quell Protests - /10
Kazakhstan's president said on Friday that he had ordered his forces to shoot to kill to deal with riots sparked by those he called bandits and terrorists, the day after Russia sent troops to help quell an uprising across the country.