“Kazakhstan’s security services detained 7,939 people in connection with the recent riots,” the country's Interior Ministry stated on Monday. On Sunday, the media also reported that there had been 164 deaths following the violent protests.
As a result of the demonstrations in the country, many public buildings, such as the Presidential Palace, have been damaged. Kazakhstan’s authorities emphasised that foreign-trained Islamist radicals were among the aggressive protestors.
“As the events in Almaty and several other regions of the country have shown, Kazakhstan has been subjected to armed aggression by well-coordinated terrorist groups trained abroad,” the country’s Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement.
“According to preliminary data, the attackers include individuals who have military combat zone experience in the ranks of radical Islamist groups,” it added.
The demonstrations across the country began as a response to a fuel price hike but swelled into a broader movement against the President’s Russian-backed government.
As reported by Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee on Monday, the situation had stabilised and security forces restored control. The country’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev added that the Russian-led bloc has deployed 2,030 troops and 250 pieces of military hardware to help contain the riots.
On Sunday, the Khabar 24 TV channel reported 164 fatalities following the violent protests.
Western leaders have expressed their concern over the situation in Kazakhstan and appealed to both the country’s authorities and protesters for the conflict’s de-escalation.
Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia and the ninth largest country in the world in terms of oil exports. The country has been criticised by the West and human rights organisations for its authoritarian political system, restricting media freedom and the lack of fair elections.