Kazakh prosecutors say 225 people died during the unrest

The bodies of 225 people killed in unrest in Kazakhstan last week, including 19 members of the security forces, were delivered to mortuaries across the country, the prosecutor’s office said on Saturday.

The figure included civilians and armed “bandits” killed by security forces, Serik Shalabayev, the head of criminal prosecution at the prosecutor’s office, said in a briefing.

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He did not give an exact distribution of the figures and said numbers could be updated later.

Violent protests began in the oil-producing Central Asian state this month after a jump in car fuel prices. The toll provided by Shalabayev confirmed that the violence was the deadliest in the country’s post-Soviet history.

Shalabayev said 50,000 people took part in the riots throughout the former Soviet republic at their peak on January 5 when crowds stormed government buildings, cars, banks and shops in several major cities and set them on fire.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to a Russian-led military bloc for help during the unrest and put his former protector and predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev aside by taking over the National Security Council.

After complaints about beating and torturing the detainees in the aftermath, Tokayev ordered police on Saturday to prevent abuse and told prosecutors to be lenient with those who did not commit serious crimes.

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