Kazakhstan over the riots that have shaken Central Asia’s


One Hundred and sixty four people have been killed and 8,000 people, including a number of foreigners, have been arrested in Kazakhstan over the riots that have shaken Central Asia’s largest country, the presidency said on Sunday.

The energy-rich nation of 19 million people has been rocked by a week of upheaval with dozens killed.

In total, 5,800 people have been detained for questioning as part of 125 separate investigations into the unrest, the presidency said in a statement.

The figures included “a substantial number of foreign nationals,” it said without elaborating.

“The situation has stabilized in all regions of the country,” even if security forces were continuing “cleanup” operations, the statement added after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held a crisis meeting.

Fuel price rises sparked the unrest that broke out a week ago in western provincial areas but quickly spread to large cities, including the economic hub Almaty, where riots erupted and police opened fire using live rounds.

The interior ministry, quoted Sunday by local media, put property damage at around 175 million euros ($198 million).

More than 100 businesses and banks were attacked and looted and more than 400 vehicles destroyed, the ministry reportedly said.

A relative calm appeared to have returned to Almaty, with police sometimes firing shots into the air to stop people approaching the city’s central square, reports said.

Supermarkets were reopening on Sunday, media reported, amid fears of food shortages.

Kazakhstan said Saturday its former security chief had been arrested for suspected treason, as Russia hit back at US criticism of its deployment of troops to the crisis-hit country.

News of the detention of Karim Masimov, a former prime minister and longtime ally of Kazakhstan’s ex-leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, came amid speculation of a power struggle in the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation.

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