Kazakhstan’s authoritarian leader says he has ordered security forces to “fire without warning”, amid a violent crackdown on anti-government protests, writes BBC.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also said “20,000 bandits” had attacked the main city of Almaty, the epicentre of protests sparked by a fuel price hike.
He blamed foreign-trained “terrorists”, without giving evidence.
The interior ministry says 26 “armed criminals” and 18 security officers have been killed so far in the unrest.
In a televised address, Mr Tokayev dismissed calls to hold talks with protesters as “nonsense”, saying: “What kind of talks can we hold with criminals and murderers?”
“We had to deal with armed and well-prepared bandits, local as well as foreign. More precisely, with terrorists. So we have to destroy them, this will be done soon”, - he said.
Opposition groups have rejected the authorities’ accusations of terrorism.