Kazakhstan: More than 160 killed, 5,000 arrested during riots
Fuel price rises sparked the unrest a week ago in provincial areas but the violence quickly reached large cities.
More than 160 people were killed and 5,000 arrested in Kazakhstan after the riots that shook Central Asia’s largest country over the past week.
The interior ministry, quoted on Sunday by local media, said initial estimates put property damage at about 175 million euros ($198m) after the deadly violence.
More than 100 businesses and banks were attacked and looted and about 400 vehicles destroyed, the ministry said.
A total of 164 people, including two children, were killed in violent, Russia’s Sputnik news agency cited the health ministry as saying on Sunday.
It said 103 people had died in Kazakhstan’s main city of Almaty, where the worst of the violence took place.
“Today the situation is stabilised in all regions of the country,” Interior Minister Erlan Turgumbayev said, adding nonetheless “the counterterror operation is continuing in a bid to re-establish order in the country”.
Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier-Walker said that the number of people killed is expected to increase.
“We are waiting for the body count to rise based on the scale of the fighting, the violence, and the shooting – heavy machine gun fire and explosions that went on for hours and hours during January 5 and 6,” he said, speaking from Tbilisi.
“To add to that, the so-called anti-terrorism operation is still continuing across the country – so a very big operation going on with the Kazakh government attempting to take back control of the situation.”
A relative calm appeared to return to the main city Almaty with police sometimes firing shots into the air to stop people approaching its central square.
In total, 5,135 people have been detained for questioning as part of 125 separate investigations into the unrest, the interior ministry said.