Five members of a group accused of killing government forces and two police officers have been killed during a clash in southern Kazakhstan, government prosecutors say.
The police officers were members of the elite Arystan battalion of the Kazakh police, and were killed after government forces confronted members of the group in a battle in the village of Boraldai on Sunday.
“After refusing to give themselves up and providing armed resistance, five members of the terrorist group were killed,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Nurdaulet Suindikov, a spokesman for the country’s attorney-general, told a news briefing that the fighters who had been killed were suspected of killing two police officers on November 8.
He said they had been “eliminated” in a night raid in the village, which is less than 10km north of the city of Almaty, where the attack on November 8 occured. The house they were hiding in was surrounded and police moved in after residents of the neighbourhood had been evacuated, he said.
He said that the group had been planning “violent acts” in Almaty.
Suindikov said that several weapons had been found during the raid, including grenades, Kalakshnikov rifles and a pistol, the Kaztag news agency reported.
Kazakhstan has experienced a number of security incidents in recent months following the passage of a controversial law that strengthens controls over religious organisations.
In May, a suicide bombing in the western oil town Aktobe was followed by a car explosion in Astana a week later.
In July, 13 people were killed in a confrontation between security forces and members of an armed group in the west of the country. Two more explosions occured in October in the western town of Atyrau.
The circumstances of the incident on November 8, in which the two police officers were reported killed, are still under investigation. Four days after that incident, a man killed eight people, including himself in Taraz after going on a shooting rampage and then blowing himself up.