Suspected militants attack a military base, gun stores in Kazakhstan

ASTANA (TCA) — Authorities in Kazakhstan say suspected Islamist militants on June 5 killed six people at a military facility and two gun stores in the northwestern city of Aktobe, prompting security forces to launch a “counterterrorism operation,” RFE/RL reported.

In his address to Aktobe residents, the Governor of the Aktobe province, Berdibek Saparbayev, called on the people to remain calm, saying that a counterterrorism operation was going on and the situation was under the full control of the authorities, Novosti-Kazakhstan news agency reported on June 6.     

In attacks carried out almost simultaneously, the assailants killed a guard and a clerk at one of the gun stores and wounded three policemen who arrived at the scene, the Kazakh Interior Ministry said.

At another firearms store, they killed a visitor before security officers arrived and killed three assailants, the ministry said.

Another group of attackers stole a bus and rammed it into the gate at a national-guard base, where they shot three servicemen dead before security officers killed one of the attackers, the ministry added.

Ministry spokesman Almas Sadubaev said that four of the assailants were killed and seven others detained in the ensuing counterterrorism operation. He added that some of the suspected attackers remained at large.

Sadubaev said earlier that nine servicemen were wounded in the attacks.

He was quoted by Reuters as saying that the suspected assailants were “followers of radical, nontraditional religious movements,” language that Kazakh authorities often use to describe Islamist militants.

Sergey Kwan