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Kazakh police detain 19 persons who forced residents to rally

December 20, 2011, 15:49 UTC+3

Fifteen people were killed in riots: 14 in the town of Zhanaozen, and one at the Shetpe railway station

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ASTANA, December 20 (Itar-Tass) — Kazakh police in the town of Zhanaozen in the west of the republic detained another 19 persons on suspicion of involvement in the recent mass disturbances there, Interior Minister Kalmukhanbet Kasynov told a Cabinet meeting via telephone link on Tuesday.

Kasymov leads the group of investigators working in the region.

"These people made rounds of organizations and threatened the workers; they called for ignoring work and taking part in rallies," the interior minister said.

He confirmed the death toll reports. Fifteen people were killed in riots: 14 in the town of Zhanaozen, and one at the Shetpe railway station, when police had to use service weapons to stop the criminal group that had blocked passenger and freight traffic and committed violence in the village.

"One hundred and ten people were wounded, including 17 police: nine (police) in Zhanaozen and eight in Shetpe. Six police are in hospital," Kasymov said.

The situation has normalized in the region. "The group of investigators has been reinforced and is working actively. As of today, eight persons have been arrested; and another 41 are facing administrative penalties, he went on to say.

Kasymov assured that the Mangistau region and Zhanaozen have enough forces to normalize the situation.

The Kazakh government is allocating Zhanaozen more than 1.2 billion tenges (some 250 million Russian roubles) for basic needs.

The local authorities need these funds for cleaning the town, compensating transport expenses, purchasing fuel and lubricants and equipping government bodies, Kazakhstan’s Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Bozhko said.

Prime Minister Karim Masimov warned the officials that the funds must be transferred to the accounts as early as Wednesday.

As of now, Zhanaozen has restored communications and water, electricity and food supply, according to the First Deputy Prime Minister, Umirzak Shukeyev, who heads the government commission in the province.

Shukeyev said some 3.8 million dollars (570 million tenge) have been allocated for uninterrupted supplies for Zhanaozen.

"The supply of medicines and food has been examined thoroughly. All retail outlets have begun to operate; they are working stably, we do not observe food shortages or price hikes," the first deputy prime minister said.

There have been disruptions in the supply of extra batches of meat, but the situation is expected to improve shortly.

The heat, gas, electricity and water supply lines are fully functioning. The town has 11 vital facilities with proper protection and round-the-clock duty.

Banks' offices in Zhanaozen have sufficient cash to pay wages, grants and pensions. Of 12 bank branches in the town, ten have re-opened.

"All the public facilities, including schools and hospitals are functional normally," Shukeyev said.

A decision was made to extend the early school holidays by five days, in order "to avoid incidents" and in connection with the curfew.

Mass disturbances in Zhanaozen occurred on Friday, December 16. Fourteen people died and dozens were injured. Forty-six buildings burnt down. The president introduced a state of emergency in the town on December 17.

Curfew in Zhanaozen will be effective until January 5. The authorities restricted traffic, prohibited rallies and limited taking videos and photos and the use of copying equipment.




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