2016 Aktobe shootings

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2016 Aktobe shootings
Location Aktobe, Kazakhstan
Date 5–10 June 2016
Target Two gun shops, military base and police.
Attack type
Spree shooting, robbery, hijacking, shootout
Deaths 25 (7 victims, 18 perpetrators)[1][2][3]
Non-fatal injuries
40+[4][5]
Perpetrators Islamic extremists

The 2016 Aktobe shootings were a spate of shootings on civilian and military targets in Aktobe, Kazakhstan, in June 2016. On 5 June, two attacks occurred at gun stores, while a third attack was aimed at a military unit. Multiple shootouts between terrorists and police occurred over the next few days. Another shooting occurred at children's camp on 8 June.[4] The shootings left 7 victims dead and 37 injured. Eighteen attackers were killed and nine were arrested.[6][7]

Background[edit]

Terrorism and extremism are rare in Kazakhstan,[6][8] however, Aktobe was the site of Kazakhstan's first suicide bombing in 2011.[6]

Despite the fact that Kazakhstan is usually peaceful, the recent plunge in petroleum prices, Kazakhstan's main export, has threatened stability in the country as was evidenced by a number of protests in April and May 2016.[8] Recent laws allowing foreigners to purchase land in Kazakhstan had also caused uproar.[5]

The shootings[edit]

Initial shootings[edit]

The group that committed the attacks, which numbered to at least sixteen people,[9] first robbed two gun shops early on 5 June, killing a guard and clerk at one shop and killing a customer at the other. They also wounded three policemen before three of the attackers were killed.[8] The surviving attackers then hijacked a bus and rammed open a gate to a national guard base where they killed three servicemen and wounded nine before one attacker was killed.[8]

Seven attackers were arrested.[9]

Later shootings[edit]

The following night after the first shootings, five more militants were killed in gun battles with police and two more were arrested.[10] More police officers were reported to have been killed or injured during the firefights.[2]

On 8 June, a shooting occurred at a children's camp in Aktobe. A person in a white car fired at security guards from a shotgun, but no one was injured.[4]

Early on June 10, five militants were killed and two policemen were wounded in more gun battles in Aktobe.[5]

Responsibility[edit]

The perpetrators of the shootings have been described by police press-service as "followers of radical, non-traditional religious movements", a term that usually refers to Islamic extremists in Kazakhstan.[6][8]

Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev has claimed that the attacks were ordered from abroad in an attempt to destabilize Kazakhstan.[7]

On 10 June, Nazarbayev told his security council the attackers were salafists and probably included Islamic State militants who had returned to Kazakhstan from Syria.[5]

Reactions[edit]

Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbayev declared 9 June a national day of mourning. He also noted that the attacks occurred on the eve of Ramadan and claimed that the attacks were ordered from abroad. He also suggested that the attacks were an attempt to start a "colour revolution" in Kazakhstan.[7] Nazarbayev also called for harsher criminal penalties on Kazakhs who joined militant groups, tighter security at gun shops and military installations and for stricter migration control.[5]

Some observers have seen attacks as evidence of rising tensions between different political groups.[5] Others have stated the attack shows a weakening in president Nazarbayev's control of the country.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Death toll from Aktobe attack reaches 19: Kazakh police". reuters.com. Reuters.com. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Dubnov, Arkady. "Nazarbayev on the Rocks: 'Terror,' 'Coup' Claims Shake Kazakhsta". themoscowtimes.com. The Moscow Times. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Islamist violence and a spate of protests have rattled Kazakhstan's ruler". economist.com. The Economist. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Live rounds fired at kids summer camp in Kazakhstan's west". rt.com. RT. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Isachenkov, Vladimir. "Kazakhstan says 5 suspected militants killed in sweep". bigstory.ap.org. Associated Press. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d "Kazakhstan: Gunmen attack gun shops and army unit in Aktobe". bbc.com. BBC. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Orazgaliyeva, Malika. "Kazakh President Declares June 9 as National Day of Mourning". astanatimes.com. Astana Times. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Suspected militants attack Kazakh guard base, kill six". reuters.com. Reuters. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Police arrest, kill radical Islamist gang, after attack on military base in Kazakhstan". rt.com. Russia Today. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "Five Aktobe Attack Suspects Killed Overnight in Clashes with Antiterrorism Forces". astanatimes.com. Astana Times. Retrieved June 6, 2016.