The President of Kazakhstan Ordered: Shoot these "Terrorists" without Warning!
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has ordered security forces to fire without warning against protesters he calls "bandits" and "terrorists" to quell the riots. This happened one day after Russia sent troops into the country, Reuters reports.
Security forces appear to be controlling the streets of the Almaty capital this morning, but gunfire is still heard after days of protests in which dozens of people were killed and public buildings set on fire and looted.
“The fighters have not laid down their weapons, they continue to commit crimes or are preparing for them. The fight against them must continue. Those who do not surrender will be destroyed,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a televised address.“I ordered law enforcement officers and the army to shoot and kill without warning.”
Tokayev blamed foreign-trained "terrorists" for the worst violence in the Central Asian country in 30 years.
At the same time, Russia's defense minister said more than 70 planes were flying around the clock to take Russian troops to Kazakhstan and were now helping authorities control the main airport in Almaty, initially seized by protesters.
The protests began in response to rising fuel prices and escalated into a mass movement against the government and former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, the longest-serving ruler in the former Soviet republic. He handed over the presidency to Tokayev three years ago, but his family is believed to be in control of the capital, Nur-Sultan.
The interior minister said 26 "armed criminals" had been "eliminated" and that 18 police and National Guard officers had been killed since the protests began. State television reported more than 3,700 arrests.
On Friday morning, gunfire was heard near the main square in Almaty, where soldiers had been fighting protesters the day before. A few hundred meters away, the body of a dead man was lying in a civilian car, Reuters reported. In another part of the country, a gun shop was looted. Other cities are rising in the big country with a population of 19 million. The Internet has been down since Wednesday, making it difficult to determine the extent of the violence.
The rapid deployment of Russian troops has shown the Kremlin's willingness to use force to assert its influence in the former Soviet Union, according to Reuters. The troops were sent under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes Russia and five other former Soviet allies. About 2,500 troops are said to have been sent to Kazakhstan for days or weeks.
Moscow "stands behind Kazakhstan and acts as allies should," said Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington was closely monitoring the deployment of Russian forces and would monitor any human rights violations and "any actions that involve the seizure of Kazakh institutions."
Tokayev claims that the Russians are not involved in battles, nor in the "elimination of fighters".
Nazarbayev has not been seen or heard since the protests began.
Kazakhstan is a major oil producer and the largest uranium producer in the world.
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