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Security Tightened As Gunman Kills Six in Terror Attack in Almaty
The sole suspect in the July 18 shooting attacks on police and government buildings in Almaty has been captured, and the city’s terror alert has been lowered from the red alert level issued July 18 to yellow, authorities announced.
Ruslan Kulikbayev, a 26-year-old from Kazakhstan’s Kyzylorda region, was detained within half an hour of the shooting attack on an Almaty police precinct and Department of National Security Committee buildings, Minister of Internal Affairs Kalmykhanbet Kassymov announced the same day. Four police officers – Captain Baurzhan Nurmakhanbetov, Sergeant Junior Maksat Salimbayev and Sergeant Major Ayan Galiyev, Lieutenant Timur Begasilov – as well as one officer of the Border Guards Service of the National Security Senior Lieutenant Azamat Azimzhanov and a civilian Gani Nurimanov were killed in the attack. Three more officers and three more civilians were also injured, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reports, with some of them in serious or critical condition.
Witnesses reported hearing around 10 shots as the shooter fired at the police officers and buildings, and then ran with the gun down an adjacent street, according to news agencies.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev offered his condolences to the families of the deceased and injured and instructed government bodies to provide them with psychological and material support during an emergency July 18 meeting of the Security Council convened in the Akorda presidential residence after the attack.
The President instructed authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure that law and order are maintained in Almaty. Shortly after the attack, a railway station, the area around the Almaty District Office of Internal Affairs and buildings targeted by the shooter had been sealed off and employees and residents of neighbouring buildings had been instructed to stay inside as the city implemented anti-terrorism measures.
Nazarbayev urged citizens to be wary of provocations, and stressed the need to keep the population informed of progress in the case, to prevent anxiety.
“It is important to rigidly suppress panicky rumours [and] reveal provocateurs. Citizens in Almaty and the whole nation should be confident that the most decisive measures to bring order are being taken,” he added. The President instructed the Ministry of Information and Communications to be timely and thorough in informing citizens and to react quickly to their inquiries, and ordered the mayor of Almaty and the minister of internal affairs to go to the site of the attacks.
In Almaty on the same night, Minister Kassymov held a press briefing on the suspected motive for the attack. The suspect, Kulikbayev, has twice served time in prison for armed robbery and possession of firearms and is suspected of killing a female citizen of Uzbekistan the night before. Authorities believe the attack was motivated by seeking revenge against law enforcement bodies for his time in prison and also in anticipation of being arrested again for murder.
According to the minister of internal affairs, Kulikbayev’s case will be investigated under several articles of the Criminal Code, including “killing of one or more persons,” “terrorism,” “attacking state bodies,” and “resisting detention.”
According to Almaty’s municipal operational headquarters, the city has stabilised, and law enforcement bodies have full control. Almaty is Kazakhstan’s largest city and former capital, and is the commercial centre of the country.
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