Kazakhstan on alert after unprecedented attacks

A suspected Islamist killed seven people in a shooting rampage and suicide bombing.

Almaty: Kazakhstan was on Sunday on alert to prevent any further unrest after a suspected Islamist killed seven people in a shooting rampage and suicide bombing, one of the worst attacks in its recent history.

The Interior Ministry of the majority Muslim nation said it was investigating if the 34-year-old who ran amok with a rifle and then blew himself up in the southern city of Taraz had any accomplices.

Meanwhile, the border service said it had tightened controls after yesterday`s attacks which prosecutors said were "acts of terrorism" and came after a rare spate of unrest in the usually stable Central Asian country.

"We cannot rule out at this stage that he had accomplices," the deputy head of the regional Interior Ministry, Marat Kozhayev, told reporters in Taraz, the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency reported.

"We are trying to shed light on his acquaintances, circle and relatives and also on why he carried out this crime," he said. Kazakhstan`s deputy prosecutor general has described the man as "a follower of jihadism".

The man, named as Kariyev, killed four police and two civilians in his shooting rampage. When he was finally apprehended, he blew himself up, killing the police captain who had arrested him.

Kozhayev confirmed that the man had explosives strapped to his waist. He said he was also dressed in the uniform of a Kazakh telecoms firm but had no link to the sector.

Gaziz Baitasov, the officer killed in the suicide blast, had managed to arrest Kariyev despite having earlier been shot in the chest, Kozhayev said. Local residents were today laying flowers at the spot where he was slain, Interfax said.


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