Nation Observes Day of Mourning After Terrorist Attack in Aktobe
June 9 was marked in a National Day of Mourning dedicated to those killed during the June 5 shooting attacks in the city of Aktobe in northwestern Kazakhstan. President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed the order for the day of mourning and addressed the nation June 8.
Seven were reported killed, including three from the National Guard and four civilians, after the June 5 terrorist attacks on two weapons shops and a military unit in Aktobe.
“As you know, a terrorists attack took place in Aktobe on June 5. Law enforcement authorities have taken the necessary measures to deal with this criminal action and to neutralise the terrorists. Following my instructions, a special interdepartmental investigative team, headed by the Minister of Internal Affairs, has been set up. The investigation is being conducted under the personal supervision of the General Prosecutor,” Nazarbayev told the country in his address, as reported by his press service.
“Unfortunately, there are casualties among our civilians and the military. They had families and children. I express my deepest condolences to their families and relatives ” he said. The President said that he had instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs and regional and city administrations to provide comprehensive assistance to the families of those killed and injured.
“The law enforcement personnel have sacrificed their lives to stop terrorists. They displayed professionalism and loyalty and demonstrated heroism and patriotism” Nazarbayev said. He also stressed the coherence and efficiency of the work of the police and National Guard in response to the attacks, and praised Aktobe residents for their restraint in not succumbing to panic or provocation.
Head of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan Vladimir Zhumakanov briefed Nazarbayev on the situation in Aktobe earlier in the day. Apparently, 20 people with knowledge of or linked to preparation of the crimes refused to take part in them, he said, and committee officers have identified and questioned all of them. Security forces are now searching for six more suspects that they believe to be in the Aktobe region, he said.
It is being reported that the attack was organised by supporters of radical pseudo-religious movements on instructions sent from outside the country. Nazarbayev noted that the shooting occurred on the eve of Ramadan, a holy month in the Muslim calendar.
“Extremism and terrorism have threatened the security of not only our country, but also of the whole world. The people of Kazakhstan fully understood the necessity of strengthening the anti-terrorism measures that were taken by the law enforcement agencies across the country following the attacks. Today, there is no cause for concern for our citizens. However, I urge the people to be vigilant, to stop all incitement to violent and illegal acts and to help the law enforcement agencies,” the President said. He also said all perpetrators of the crimes of June 5 will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has reported that firefights during the attacks led to the deaths of four civilians, and five police officers were injured while subduing criminals. In an attack on a military unit, three soldiers were killed and six were injured.
No additional incidents have occurred in Aktobe since that day of attacks, the Ministry of Internal Affairs press office reports, and public transportation has resumed and many shops have reopened. Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee is maintaining a red-level terrorist alert in Aktobe and a yellow-level alert across most of the country.
Law enforcement agencies in the country remain in emergency mode, a statement by the ministry’s press service said. “In general, the situation in the city, as well as the whole country, is stable and under control.”