Kazakhstan has tightened security in its southern provinces in the wake of a deadly bombing that killed five police officers and two civilians, including an apparent suicide bomber, in the city of Taraz.

A combined shooting-and-bomb attack took place on Saturday in the southern Kazakh city of Taraz, the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency reported.

Troops stationed along the country's southern border had intensified patrols and traffic controls, the news agency Kazakhstan-Novosti said.

The two police officers who sustained bullet injuries were in a serious but stable condition, the Interfax news agency reported.

At least one of the explosions was thought to have occurred outside the national security committee building.

An unknown individual attacked a weapons shop, stealing two Saiga rifles and killing a security guard, the interior ministry said in a statement quoted by Interfax-Kazakhstan.

He then escaped in a vehicle, shooting dead two police officers on his way. When finally apprehended, the gunman detonated his charge, killing himself and a traffic policeman, the agency reported.

"After being arrested, the wounded criminal blew himself up and as a result a member of the traffic police was killed," the interior ministry said.

Bekbolat Orynbekov, the head of the Taraz administration, told the news agency: "Investigators, the national security committee and prosecutors are working at the scene."

Interfax-Kazakhstan said that its own correspondent in the city had seen one corpse being put into a black body bag by the local authorities. A nearby shop was also burgled.

Source: Agencies