Monday, January 17

President of Kazakhstan: To hunt down “terrorists”

KILLED: One person is shot and killed in the Kazakh city of Almaty. Security forces are standing along the side of the road. The picture is from January 6.

At the same time as the Kazakh authorities state that 26 rebels have been killed, the country’s president claims that order has been restored to the Central Asian country. But the media reports on ongoing shootings in the country’s largest city.

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President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev slammed protesters on Friday morning. In a speech to the nation, he made powerful threats.

According to Reuters, the president said that they have set up a separate group that will “hunt down and arrest” what he refers to as terrorists.

He also said that he had informed his forces that they could now open fire on the protesters without warning.

“Those who do not surrender will be destroyed,” he said.

He also claimed that around 20,000 “bandits” attacked Almaty.

For much of Thursday, the internet and mobile network were turned off in the country, with only state-owned television available to most Kazakhs. On Friday, it was also reported that the internet is down throughout the country.

On Friday morning, the situation in Kazakhstan is confusing.

The country, and especially Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, has been marked by demonstrations and riots for six days in a row.

The Kazakh Interior Ministry claims that it has “liquidated” what they call 26 “armed criminals”, reports Reuters.

It is unclear whether it is a question of during the night until Friday or whether they state the number for the entire period of demonstrations.

In addition, the ministry says that a total of 18 members of the security forces have so far been killed and several hundred injured. They also state that they have arrested more than 3,000 people.

The Russian state news agency Tass reports on Friday morning that the shooting continues in the center of Almaty, in the southeast of the country.

The news agency also writes about killed people lying in the middle of the road.

The Guardian also reports that around 400 protesters will be hospitalized as a result of the government’s handling of the demonstrations.

See more photos from the demonstrations and riots in Almaty here:

Russian forces sent to the country

President Tokayev has tried several measures to gain control of the situation. He has dissolved the government, introduced a national state of emergency, which will last until January 19, and introduced a curfew at night in the country’s largest cities.

And on Wednesday, he asked for help from former Soviet states to “stabilize and normalize” the situation in the country.

A Russian-led “peacekeeping force” of about 2,500 soldiers from the CSTO alliance was sent to the country on Thursday.

On Thursday, Russian authorities published photos of Russian forces boarding military aircraft.

The riots are also said to have spread to large parts of the country.

And on Friday, the president of Kazakhstan said that “for the most part” order has been restored in the country.

It is expected that he will speak to the nation during Friday.

The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that the task of the “peace forces” is to secure and protect strategic goals, writes Tass.

Earlier this week, protesters took control of Almaty International Airport, among other places.

But according to Tass, the “peacekeeping forces” together with Kazakh security forces must have taken control of the airport on Friday morning.

RUSSIAN: “Peacekeeping forces” on their way out of a Russian military plane at an airport in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Great dissatisfaction

According to protesters, the protests began peacefully earlier in the week, but became violent after a harsh response from the government.

Extensive dissatisfaction with high gas prices is said to have been the trigger for the demonstrations. But the dissatisfaction with an authoritarian government that is corrupt and nepotistic, is also highlighted as the underlying causes of the demonstrations.

According to Freedom House, which measures the degree of democracy in countries, Kazakhstan’s citizens are not free. The country has a score of 23 out of 100 on their freedom index. By comparison, Norway has 100, the United States 83, while China has 9.

UNPOPULAR: Former President Nursultan Nazarbayev (left) and current President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Kazakhstan.

The Kazakh Interior Ministry has previously warned that insurgents who did not listen to the demand for their weapons would be killed, according to the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti, which also reports that all government buildings on Friday were cleared of protesters.

The UN and the EU are among those who have expressed concern about the situation, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has in talks with his Kazakh counterpart called for a peaceful solution to the situation.

Reference-www.vg.no

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