Kaza­khstan says all gun­men be­hind at­tacks ar­rested

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

ASTANA—Kaza­khstan on Sun­day said it had de­tained all the re­main­ing gun­men in­volved in a se­ries of shoot­ing at­tacks last week that killed seven peo­ple and was blamed on rad­i­cal Is­lamists.

Four civil­ians and three sol­diers were killed when a group of gun­men went on the ram­page at gun shops and at­tempted to storm a mil­i­tary base on June 5 in the west­ern city of Ak­tobe near the Rus­sian bor­der.

In a state­ment, the na­tional se­cu­rity ser­vice said “all the par­tic­i­pants” in the June 5 at­tacks had been dis­armed and de­tained. It did not say how many had been de­tained.

Kazakh Pres­i­dent Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev called the in­ci­dent a “ter­ror­ist at­tack” car­ried out by “fol­low­ers of the non-tra­di­tional re­li­gious move­ment Salafism” in tele­vised com­ments on Fri­day, re­fer­ring to an ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive brand of Is­lam.

The oil-rich Cen­tral Asian state has re­leased few de­tails about the group that hi­jacked a bus as it at­tempted to storm a mil­i­tary base, but po­lice and gov­ern­ment troops said they had killed 18 sus­pects as they hunted down the per­pe­tra­tors.

Nazarbayev on Fri­day said the at­tack­ers had re­ceived in­struc­tions “from abroad” and called for tighter con­trols on for­eign fi­nanc­ing of Kazakh or­ga­ni­za­tions among other se­cu­rity mea­sures.

He did not say which for­eign agents might have spon­sored the at­tacks. Since gain­ing in­de­pen­dence from the Soviet Union, Kaza­khstan has largely avoided the chaos that has dogged other for­mer Soviet na­tions in Cen­tral Asia.

But so­cial un­rest in the ma­jor­ity Mus­lim na­tion has grown as the econ­omy reels from low oil prices and the eco­nomic cri­sis in neigh­bor­ing Rus­sia, a key ally.

Ak­tobe, a city of about 400,000 peo­ple, is lo­cated some 100 kilo­me­ters from the Rus­sian bor­der in Kaza­khstan’s oil-pro­duc­ing west.

The city was the site of coun­try’s first ever sui­cide bomb­ing in 2011 that tar­geted the lo­cal head­quar­ters of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee (KNB), although only the sui­cide bomber was killed in the at­tack.—Agen­cies

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