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Riots in Kazakhstan leave 225 dead

Violent unrest in Kazakhstan that began on Sunday January 2 with peaceful protests against rising energy prices has left 225 people dead. According to the authorities, who announced this figure on Saturday, this is a spectacular increase compared to previous official reports. Kazakhstan had previously acknowledged fewer than 50 dead – 26 « armed bandits » and 18 security guards – in this dispute.

« During the state of emergency, the bodies of 225 people were admitted to the morgues, 19 of whom were law enforcement and military personnel », said Serik Shalabaev, a representative of the Prosecutor General, during a press briefing. Other corpses were those of “armed bandits who participated in terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, civilians have also been victims of terrorist acts”, he added.

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Asel Artakshinova, spokesman for the health ministry, said more than 2,600 people had been hospitalized, with 67 of them currently in serious condition. Kazakh authorities blamed the violence on bandits and « terrorists » internationals who they say hijacked the protests.

The forces led by Russia began their withdrawal from Kazakhstan on Thursday, where they had been dispatched to support the power in place in the face of unprecedented riots, announced the Russian defense ministry.

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