Attack in Aktobe: overview of developments

Attack in Aktobe: overview of developments

17 people (11 attackers, 3 soldiers) were killed in an armed attack in Kazakhstan's western city of Aktobe on June 5. Among the victims  were also three civilians: a sales assistant, a customer and a security guard at one of the shops. 22 people were injured, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan said.

A group of Islamist militants attacked the gun shop 'Pallada' at 14:28 local time, injuring the seller, who, however, managed to push a panic button. The man died on the spot.

One of the shop guards was killed on the spot and the other was wounded. The gunmen then wounded three policemen who arrived at the site and took at least 17 units of firearms (3 rifled and 14 smoothbore shotguns), 3 gas pistols, bullets and knives.

They then split into two groups one of which robbed another gun shop 'Panther', killing one customer and injuring other, while the other group hijacked a bus and used it to ram the gate at the national guard base where they killed three servicemen before guards and police killed one attacker.

Six servicemen and one attacker were wounded. 5 people were arrested near the Pallada shop and 5 perpetrators were killed and 2 arrested during the night operational search actions.

The employees established the identities of all the attackers. Measures to find and detain them are being taken.

The head of the Central Asia Department of the CIS Institute, Andrei Grozin, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, urged to focus on official information. "Since it is known that the attackers were followers of non-traditional religious movements, the criminal version does not fit. Judging by the number of people,  we are dealing with one of the unconventional Jamaat, there are many of them in western Kazakhstan," he noted.

The expert drew attention to the link between the low-Islamization of society and the radical's activity. "Most of the Kazakh jihadists come from the western regions of the country. Close proximity to Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, which are sedentary peoples with the state tradition and a long history of Islam, contributes to the fact that there are more people in the south who practice real Islam. And a variety of extremist branches are mostly in the west of the republic," Andrei Grozin pointed out.

Grozin also reminded that there is the most heavily stratification of society in the west of Kazakhstan, which only promotes the growth of radical sentiments. "The west is oil provinces, which give 90% of the total amount of Kazakh hydrocarbon feedstock. Therefore, it is the most difficult region in the West in the social and economic senses. The West is a historical, traditional territory of the Junior zhuz [a group of Kazakh tribes and clans, consisting of three tribal unions: Baiuly, Alimuly and Jetyru - VK], which is the most warlike and less susceptible to external influences. In addition, it is the most mono-ethnic region of Kazakhstan: the percentage of local Kazakh population is 90% there. Due to it, not only jihadists and separatists are active there, but also local national-patriots. This makes the events in Aktobe quite recognizable – the last similar incident occurred in Zhanaozen in 2011," the expert said.

According to him, the attack of the radicals suggests that a wave of terrorist attacks that took place in Kazakhstan in 2011 has not disappeared completely. "Then the terrorists acted less ambitiously and now they act more efficiently and boldly. This is the first in the history of modern Kazakhstan attempt to attack and seize weapons in a military unit. This means that they have been preparing for battles and the jihadist underground remains in the territory of the republic," Andrei Grozin concluded.