25 March 2019

Kazakhstan arrests 21 suspected "terrorists"

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Kazakhstan said Wednesday it had arrested 21 members of radical groups plotting terror attacks in public places, after two deadly attacks that fuelled fears of rising extremism.

The security service of mainly Muslim Kazakhstan said in a statement that it had arrested 21 people from three groups after detaining them in two western regions bordering Russia.

The state said it had foiled “attacks on law enforcement officers and also acts of terrorism in crowded public places” and had confiscated weapons, ammunition and TNT as well as “extremist” texts and symbols.

This summer Kazakhstan was shaken by two attacks with multiple victims that damaged its reputation for stability and led to concerns that home-grown radicalism could be on the rise in the oil-rich Turkic Republic.

On July 18, a gunman attacked a police station and a building used by the security services in the financial capital of Almaty, leaving six dead, with the authorities linking the gunman to followers of the ultra-conservative "Salafi strain of Islam".

On June 5, four civilians and three soldiers were killed in the western city of Aqtobe when assailants attacked gun shops and tried to storm a military base in a bus they had hijacked.

Strongman President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled since the fall of the USSR, described both attacks as “terrorist” and blamed the Aqtobe violence on radicals acting on “instructions received from abroad.”

An estimated 300 Kazakh citizens are thought to have joined extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, including the Daesh group and some Daesh propaganda videos feature Kazakh children.

On Tuesday in Kazakhstan’s southern neighbour Kyrgyzstan, a suicide bomber at the wheel of a van injured three after ramming the gates of the Chinese embassy and detonating explosives.

It should be reminded that yellow (moderate) level of terrorist threat enforced after the terrorist attacks in Aqtobe (West Kazakhstan region) was recently prolonged till 15 January 2017.

2016.09.01 / 14:53
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