NUR-SULTAN — Kazakh authorities say they have detained 25 people during a police operation connected to February’s deadly ethnic clashes in the southern region of Zhambyl.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Yerlik Kenebaev charged on March 27 that the detainees “took an active part ” in the violence that claimed 11 lives.

Kenebaev said the 25 included ethnic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, as well as members of the Dungan minority, a Muslim group of Chinese origin.

They were detained in Zhambyl region and the cities of Almaty and Shymkent, he said, adding that seven had previous convictions.

During a visit to the Zhambyl region on March 1, President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev blamed “criminal groups” for the February 7-8 clashes.

Authorities said that a road-rage brawl sparked wider violence between ethnic Kazakhs and Dungans that spread into the villages of Sortobe, Masanchi, Auqatty, and Bulan-Batyr.

More than 23,000 people, mostly Dungans, fled villages where the violence broke out.

Kenebaev said that along with the 11 people killed in the clashes, 192 other people were injured — including 19 police officers.

He said 168 houses and 122 cars were also damaged.

He said the situation in the region was now “stable.”

Police detentions after the violence also sparked protests.



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