ALMATY, Jan 10 (AFP) — Nearly 8,000 people have been detained in Kazakhstan after days of historic unrest in the Central Asian country that left dozens dead, the interior ministry said Monday.
“As of January 10, 7,939 people have been detained,” the interior ministry said in a statement noting that several branches of the security services had been involved in the detentions.
Ex-Soviet Kazakhstan on Monday was observing a day of national mourning after the worst unrest in the republic’s independent history.
The National Security Committee 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.
Kazakhstan framed the violence as an attack by “terrorist groups” and has criticized foreign media coverage of the events, which began with protests over a fuel price hike in the west of the country at the beginning of the month.
During the unrest, the Moscow-led CSTO military alliance sent a detachment of 2,500 troops to the country following a request from Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
The leaders of CSTO countries — an alliance of former Soviet states — were due to meet via video link on Monday, including with Russian President Vladimir Putin.