By Meiramgul Kussainova
NUR-SULTAN (AA) - Nearly 10,000 people have been detained by police in Kazakhstan in massive riots across the country, according to authorities.
At least 9,900 have been detained as of Jan. 11, said the Interior Ministry. Police seized weapons, including 25 Makarov pistols, bulletproof vests and other equipment, according to the police.
Local media reported the deaths of two security guards and an intelligence officer Tuesday.
The head of the Police Department of Jambyl Province, Gen. Janat Suleymanov, was found dead, the Kazinform agency reported.
The Interior Ministry confirmed Suleymanov’s death and an investigation was launched, it added.
The head of Almaty Provincial Police, Tanat Nazaov, died from a head injury, authorities confirmed.
And Col. Azamat Ibrayev was found dead in the courtyard of his house in the nation’s capital of Nur-Sultan, Kazak National Security Committee announced.
After liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices in Kazakhstan doubled Jan. 2, triggering protests, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency in Almaty and the oil-rich Mangystau region before expanding it nationwide.
At least 164 people, including a 4-year-old girl, were killed during weeklong protests.
The government resigned after Tokayev held them responsible for the protests.
He later asked the Russian-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for help, which sent troops to quell the unrest.
The deadly protests have been described by Tokayev as “an attempted coup d’etat.”
He has accused “terrorists, including foreign fighters” of playing the most active part in riots that have led to the deaths of at least 18 security personnel and 26 protesters in the last week.