Nearly 8,000 detained in Kazakhstan as Almaty stabilizes
Life appears to be returning to normal in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty, with security forces having detained a total of 7,939 people as of Jan. 10 over the worst bout of violence in the Central Asian nation's post-Soviet history
Nearly 8,000 people have been detained in Kazakhstan, the Interior Ministry said Monday as the nation observed a day of mourning after clashes that left dozens dead and the financial hub of 1.8 million people reeling.
"As of January 10, 7,939 people have been detained," the ministry said in a statement, noting that several branches of the country's security services had been involved in the detentions.
The situation in Kazakhstan has stabilized and is now under control, the Central Asian country's National Security Committee said on Monday, adding that "hotbeds of terrorist threats" have been neutralized. It said in a statement that the country, including government and military facilities, was fully under the control of security services.
"Areas where militants and rioters might be hiding are being cleared. Evidence of criminal activity is being collected and recorded," the statement read.
The country's largest city was back online and appeared to be returning to normal on Monday. Almaty, the country's former capital, had been nearly completely offline since Wednesday, but local and foreign websites were accessible again Monday morning, following the worst unrest in the ex-Soviet republic's independent history.
Reuters saw two military vehicles with mounted machine guns driving toward the square. Most of the dozens of civilian and police cars torched during the unrest had been removed. Supermarket chain Magnum said 15 of its 68 stores in Almaty had been looted. A shopping mall's staff told Reuters that video cameras showed looters attacking an ATM, changing into stolen clothes at the stores and walking out wearing two or three coats.
"The situation has been stabilized in all regions of the country," the presidential office said, adding law enforcement agencies had seized back control of administrative buildings. "The counter-terrorist operation... will be continued until the complete elimination of the terrorists," Deputy Defense Minister Sultan Gamaletdinov said, according to remarks carried by Reuters.