11:20 08.02.2020

Eight people killed, 40 injured in mass riots in southern Kazakhstan

3 min read

Eight people have been killed as a result of a conflict in the Kordai district of the Jambyl region in southern Kazakhstan, Interior Minister Yerlan Turgumbayev said.

"As a result of mass riots, eight people have died from injuries," Turgumbayev said at a briefing in Nur-Sultan on Saturday.

According to the minister, 40 people were injured.

The conflict started around 7 p.m. on Friday and initially it involved 70 "residents behaving aggressively," the minister said. Later, the number of persons participating in the brawl increased to 300 people due to provocative actions and calls of some of them.

"Participants in the brawl actively resisted police and disobeyed their legitimate demands. Hooligans used metal objects, stones, and firearms. The conflict later spread to the villages of Aukaty and Bolanbatyr," the minister said.

"Policemen sustained various injuries while performing their duties, two of them got gunshot wounds," the interior minister said.

Over 30 houses and several dozen sale outlets and cars were damaged in mass riots, he said.

"According to preliminary information, over 30 private houses, 15 sale outlets and 23 cars were damaged as a result of acts of hooliganism followed by arsons," Turgumbayev said.

"The incident scene is currently being examined and updated information will be provided in the future," he said.

A mass brawl took place at the Masanchi village in the Kordai district of southern Kazakhstan's Jambyl region on Friday. The police for the Jambyl region are identifying the instigators and participants of the conflict, and its investigative department has initiated a pre-trial inquiry on the counts of hooliganism.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made a statement in light of these events on Saturday. He ordered to establish a governmental commission to remedy the consequences of the events in the Kordai region headed by Deputy Prime Minister Berdibek Saparbayev to determine the main reasons of the conflict and ensure that socioeconomic and humanitarian issues are promptly resolved. The commission was also tasked, alongside the akim (governor) of the Jambyl region, with organizing the funerals of the deceased, evaluating the damage, and taking measures to restore the destroyed property.

Tokayev ordered that all necessary assistance be provided to the families of those killed and injured.

"It is crucial to calm the population down now. The Assembly of People of Kazakhstan and eminent locals shall be involved in that," Tokayev said.

At the same time, the president ordered the Kazakh National Security Committee and the Prosecutor General's Office to hold the persons calling for interethnic discord following the mass brawl in the Kordai district responsible.

"The National Security Committee, the Prosecutor General's Office must take necessary investigative measures and hold the persons sowing interethnic discord and spreading provocative rumors and disinformation responsible," Tokayev said.

Additionally, the president ordered the Prosecutor General's Office to "take the investigation of the events in the Kordai district under special control and establish an interagency investigative and operative team to that end."

"The perpetrators must be severely punished," Tokayev said.