Monday, 23 May, 2022

Eight die, dozens hurt in southern Kazakhstan clashes

Eight die, dozens hurt in southern Kazakhstan clashes

Eight people died and dozens were hurt in clashes involving hundreds of villagers in Kazakhstan's south, Interior Minister Yerlan Turgumbayev said Saturday.

"Several dozen people were injured, eight died," Turgumbayev said after clashes Friday in the Jambyl region, some three hours drive from Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called an emergency government session Saturday where he said the situation was "under the control" of police and the national guard.

"Tonight, in a number of settlements in the Kordai district of Zhambyl region, clashes and group fights between local residents took place," Tokayev said.

"Unfortunately there are injuries and fatalities. I express my sincere condolences to the close ones of those who died," Tokayev said.

Footage posted to social media late on Friday night showed scenes of young men, some armed with clubs, marching along the road of a village with buildings ablaze either side.

The conflict is widely believed to have pitted titular Kazakhs against minority Dungans, although Kazakhstan's authorities have not commented on the origins of the fight.

Kazakhstan's authoritarian leadership prides itself on guaranteeing inter-ethnic harmony in a country where the foreign ministry says "over 100 ethnic groups are living in peace."