UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The death toll from inter-ethnic clashes has risen to ten in southern Kazakhstan, as thousands have fled to neighboring Kyrgyzstan, authorities confirmed on Sunday.
The clashes that occurred between civilians on Friday evening resulted in dozens of injuries, including 39 who are still in the hospital, Deputy Interior Minister Alexei Kallaishede confirmed to reporters.
An initial count indicated that eight people were killed. The authorities of the Central Asian country did not say whether the high death toll was due to the death of those injured by their wounds.
Dozens of homes, cars and shops were burned due to clashes in several towns in the Kordai district in the multi-ethnic and multi-ethnic Gambel region with Kyrgyzstan.
According to President Qasim Gomart Tokayev, the clashes that have now ended are due to tension between the Kazakh majority and the Muslim minority Dongan from China, which spreads between Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and northwest China.
According to Kyrgyz media, four thousand people, most of them from Dongan, crossed the Kazakh border towards Kyrgyzstan on Saturday.
The authorities refused that the source of the clashes would be ethnic tension, which would undermine the policy of coexistence between the peoples of Kazakhstan.
Five policemen were also wounded during the clashes, three of whom were shot, as the Deputy Minister of Interior of Kazakhstan confirmed, stressing that “the police did not resort to using weapons.”
Kalayshidi said the clashes were fueled “by instigators and eyewitnesses who filmed the incidents and posted them with comments on social media.”
This led to an “escalation” and intervention by residents of the surrounding towns, added Klayshedy. The clash erupted mainly between 70 people, then about 300 residents joined it, according to the authorities.
Kazakhstan officials often focus on their commitment to achieving harmony between different groups in a country where “more than 100 ethnicities live in peace,” according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The majority of Kazakhstan represents more than two-thirds of the population of the former Soviet Republic of 18 million.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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