Clashes in border Kazakh village kill 10 and injure at least 40 others

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By AFP and Alessio Dell'Anna
(February 8, 2020) Riot police guard the streets in the village of Masanchi, Kazakhstan.
(February 8, 2020) Riot police guard the streets in the village of Masanchi, Kazakhstan.   -  Copyright  Vyacheslav OSELEDKO / AFP

Eight people died and more than 40 others were injured during clashes occurred between Friday evening and Saturday in southern Kazakhstan

The government is trying to establish what sparked the riots, while deciding over "questions of socioeconomic and humanitarian character" as well as determining "the scale of the damage."

The clashes, which saw 47 people detained, occurred in multiple villages close to the Kyrgyz border.

Pictures from the scene show many vehicles and properties burnt down. News agency AFP reports some residents were seen gathering belongings from houses partly destroyed by fire as they prepared to leave the village, which is now under the guard of police and special forces.

Kazakhstan president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed his condolences to the families of the victims: "Unfortunately there are injured and fatalities. I express my sincere condolences to the close ones of those who died."

Vyacheslav OSELEDKO / AFP
(February 8, 2020) Dungans people gather to cross the border from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan near the town of Tokmak.Vyacheslav OSELEDKO / AFP

Deputy Prime Minister Berdibek Saparbayev called for the "the responsible" to be punished as he visited a hospital in the village of Korday.

"The main question now is ensuring stability, the law and security in the region," he commented.

The conflict is believed to have pitted Kazakhs against the Dungans Muslim minority.

Dauren Abayev, Kazakhstan's information minister, said it had been sparked by an "everyday confrontation."

"There were calls for violence at these markets," he told journalists in the capital Nur-Sultan.

Footage posted on social media late on Friday showed young men, some armed with clubs, marching along the road of a village with buildings ablaze either side.

A local driver told AFP that the conflict began after a man from the Dungan minority attacked an elderly Kazakh man.