ASTANA, June 6. /TASS/. Thirty eight people were wounded as extremists attacked gun shops and an army unit in Kazakhstan’s northwestern city of Aktobe on Sunday, the country’s Health Minister Tamara Duysenova said.
Out of them, 20 people were hospitalized, 15 others receive medical assistance on outpatient basis and two others died. A total of 14 people have already undergone surgery, three others are undergoing surgery now and nine others are in a "critical condition," she said.
The republic’s Interior Ministry said a group of "followers of radical, nontraditional religious movements" attacked on Sunday gun shops and an army unity of the National Guard in Aktobe, a city located 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Russia’s border.
Six people were killed in the attack, including three troops. Another ten people were wounded. Police later reported that some attackers were killed and several others were detained. A search for the others is underway and all of them have been identified.
A counterterrorism operation has been launched in the Aktobe region. The country’s troops have been put on alert. The situation in the city is "stable" and enterprises and public transport are working as normal, an official spokesman for the ministry said. The situation in the city is under personal control of President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Those who staged last Sunday’s attacks against shops selling firearms and a military unit in Aktobe in the west of Kazakhstan first and foremost pursued the aim of intimidating civilian population, the religious affairs committee at the Ministry of Culture and Sports said on Monday.
"Those who committed these crimes were aiming to intimidate civilians, to upset calm and accord and also to breed fear and uncertainty in society," the committee said.
"The terrorists who were using religion as a cover have shown their real worth," it stated. "Although such people position themselves as ‘champions of true faith’ in reality they are alien to the real values of Islam."
The committee is certain that inside the country there are no religious prerequisites for violation actions, but the "ideologists of international terrorism have been trying to drag our people within their realm of influence for many years."
According to the Interior Ministry "a group of followers of unconventional religious trends" on June 5 attacked several weapons retailers and the garrison of a National Guard unit. Six men, including three military servicemen, were killed. Tens of others were injured. A number of attackers were either killed or detained, police said. The search for all others involved in the attacks are being looked for and their identities are being established.
A counter-terrorism operation situation has been declared in the city’s area. All police personnel have been ordered to tighten security. The situation in Aktobe is stable, Businesses and public transport operate as usual. President Nursultan Nazarbayev is overseeing the situation in the city personally.