Kazakhstan’s president announced on Friday that he has instructed his military to shoot-to-kill to deal with unrest caused by “bandits and terrorists,” a day after Russia dispatched troops to quell nationwide unrest.
On Friday morning, security forces looked to have taken control of Almaty’s main streets, but shooting could still be heard following days of upheaval that saw dozens of people slain and public buildings destroyed and burned.
“The militants have not laid down their arms, they continue to commit crimes or are preparing for them. The fight against them must be pursued to the end. Whoever does not surrender will be destroyed,” said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in a televised address.
“I have given the order to law enforcement agencies and the army to shoot to kill without warning.”
Tokayev has attributed the greatest violence in the Central Asian state’s 30 years of independence to foreign-trained terrorists.
According to Interfax, more than 70 planes were flying round the clock to transport Russian troops into Kazakhstan, and they were now assisting in the control of Almaty’s main airport, which had been reclaimed from demonstrators on Thursday.
Unrest in Kazakhstan started as a response to a fuel price hike, but has since grown into a broad movement against the government and former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, who has been in power for the longest period of any former Soviet state.
Despite the fact that he handed over the president to Tokayev three years ago, his family is widely considered to have retained control in Nur-Sultan, the purpose-built capital that he named after himself.
Since the start of the protests, the interior ministry said 26 “armed criminals” had been “liquidated,” with 18 police and national guard servicemembers killed, according to numbers that did not appear to have been updated since Thursday. More than 3,700 arrests were reported on state television.
Image Credit: Reuters
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