Kazakh president orders security forces 'to open fire to kill terrorists without warning'

Counter-terrorism operation to continue until militants are completely destroyed, says President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Kazakh president orders security forces 'to open fire to kill terrorists without warning'

Kazakhstan’s president said on Friday that he gave security services orders to shoot to kill those he called “terrorists,” accusing them of continued violence.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s order for law enforcement services and the military "to open fire to kill the terrorists without warning," came in a televised address.

Tokayev noted that the "terrorists" used weapons against people during the demonstrations in the country.

Pointing out that the international bodies abroad called Kazakhstan for negotiations and a peaceful solution to the problem, Tokayev said: "What an absurd thing. What negotiations can there be with criminals and murderers? We had to deal with local and foreign bandits and terrorists who were armed and prepared. Therefore, they need to be destroyed. This will be done as soon as possible. The security forces are ready to fulfill this task, both morally and technically."

Expressing that 20,000 "bandits" attacked Almaty, Tokayev said they were "directed from one place" and that this is being investigated now.

"Terrorists must be fought to the end. Militants who do not surrender will be destroyed. In the future, efforts will continue to draw lessons from the tragedy we have experienced," he added.

He went on to say that the "tragic events" in the country brought up the problems of democracy and human rights again.

"The tragedy in Almaty and other cities of Kazakhstan, non-compliance with the law, unlimited freedom of movement and anarchy lead to violations of human rights. In Almaty, not only administrative buildings but also private property of people were damaged due to bandits and terrorists. Besides that, the health and life of hundreds of civilians and soldiers suffered," he stressed.

Tokayev also expressed his condolences to the families and relatives of those who lost their lives in the incidents.

'Black line in history'

Tokayev underlined that some human rights defenders and activists in the country "consider themselves above the law, adding that the "irresponsible actions" of these activists are "distracting" the police tasked with keeping order.

"Police are often harassed and insulted. The internet is being restricted because of these activists. As a result, the interests of millions of citizens and business people, meaning the internal, economic, social, and political stability of the country, are harmed," he said.

"The so-called free media and individuals abroad, who are far from the fundamental interests of our multinational nation, play a helpful and essentially provocative role in the violation of the legal order. It can be said without exaggeration that those who manipulate the people irresponsibly are complicit in the tragedy in Kazakhstan. We will react strongly to all vandalism. There is no doubt that we will quickly cross this black line in our history," the president asserted.

Noting that an inter-institutional group was formed to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future, Tokayev said this group was tasked with catching bandits and terrorists.

"I promise that these people will be punished. I urge all citizens to be careful and cautious and to report the actions of suspicious persons to the relevant bodies and hotlines. It is important for us to understand why the state failed to see the underground preparation of terrorist attacks by militant sleeper cells," he said.

Peaceful protests

Tokayev highlighted that they take into account the demands of those who organized peaceful protests.

"Compromise was reached through dialogue. Solutions for serious social and economic problems were studied. Therefore, we will gradually lift the state of emergency in stable regions," he said.

Tokayev added that in some parts of the country the internet access has been restored for a certain period of time.

He also thanked the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for deploying peacekeepers to Kazakhstan at the country's request, as well as thanked leaders of China, Uzbekistan, Turkiye, along with the UN and other international organizations for their words of support.

Constitutional order restored

Earlier Friday, he told security officials: "The constitutional order was restored in general in all parts of the country. Local authorities are in control of the situation.

“But terrorists still continue to use weapons and damage people's property. So, the counter-terrorism operation will continue until the militants are completely destroyed."

The Interior Ministry also announced earlier that 26 protesters had lost their lives and another 18 were injured in anti-government demonstrations.

At least 18 security officers have died during ongoing violence in the Central Asian country stemming from protests over rising fuel prices, the Interior Ministry announced Thursday.

The protests began in western Kazakhstan on Jan. 2 over an increase in the prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and later spread to other areas of the country before going nationwide.

In response, Tokayev declared a state of emergency in the commercial capital Almaty and the oil-rich Mangystau region.

Tokayev also approved the resignation of the government, and requested support from CSTO, a Eurasian alliance of former Soviet states.

Hüseyin Demir