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8 Feb, 2020 15:33

Massive brawl involving hundreds of locals kills 10, turns southern Kazakhstan village into warzone (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Massive brawl involving hundreds of locals kills 10, turns southern Kazakhstan village into warzone (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Dozens of homes were set ablaze and at least 10 people were killed as almost 400 villagers clashed with police and each other in southern Kazakhstan, prompting authorities to send in reinforcements and install roadblocks.

A massive brawl broke out on Friday in the outskirts of Masanchi, a settlement close to the Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border. The initial call to local police reported 70 people taking part in skirmishes, and several patrols were dispatched to the location. Some “provocateurs” were filming the brawl as it unfolded, spreading the videos via messaging apps, Kazakhstan’s Interior Minister Yerlan Turgumbayev later told journalists.

By midnight more people gathered, some coming from nearby villages. Authorities estimate around 400 people took part in clashes that left at least eight people dead and dozens being treated for gunshot wounds and other injuries.

The crowd torched dozens of buildings and cars, making the vicinity look like a warzone. Footage circulated on YouTube shows cheering mobsters wandering around the burning houses.

Mobsters then attacked the police, wounding two officers with gunshots, but the situation was brought under control once National Guard reinforcements arrived. Police have detained 47 people and secured two hunting shotguns, with officers – wearing protective riot gear – sealing off the area.

On Saturday morning, images showing the chilling aftermath of the brawl surfaced on social media. Some buildings look completely burned out, while the streets seem to be desolated.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told the government to look into “this serious incident,” prosecute the culprits and care for the families of those killed or injured. 

Authorities said that a domestic conflict started the initial brawl. Tokayev said provocateurs then used the situation to start a bigger conflict, and he called on the secret services to find those who “stir up ethnic tensions and spread provocative rumors and misinformation.”

Masanchi and nearby villages are home to many Dungans, an ethnic minority comprised of Muslims of Chinese origin. There has been no confirmation so far that the clashes were linked to ethnicity.

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