Kazakh police kill four suspected militants in Aktobe counter-terrorist operation

By bne IntelliNews June 6, 2016

Kazakh police killed four, wounded two and detained seven suspected Islamist militants in a counter-terrorist operation in the western city of Aktobe on June 5, Tengrinews reported.

A group of what the authorities call “radical followers of non-traditional religious movements”, a phrase used in Kazakhstan to describe Islamist militant, attacked two firearms stores and a military unit killing six people, including three servicemen. A curfew was imposed in the city and authorities shut down the public transportation and leisure facilities.

Aktobe, located some 100km from the Russian border, was a scene of shootouts between security services and alleged terrorists in 2011. It was the site of the country’s first suicide bombing in 2011 when a local man detonated an explosive device inside the building of the state security service.

Thought violent clashes within the country are rare, the economic slowdown has threatened political and social stability in Central Asian nation of 18mn. President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s regime is finding it increasingly hard to maintain stability in the country the economy of which heavily depends on oil and gas and other minerals. Over the past few months, the country saw a wave of large-scale protests caused by the new amendments to the Land Code that envisage selling farmland to entities with foreign involvement and extending the lease of farmland to foreigners from 10 to 25 years. 

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