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Two police officers among five people killed in shooting in Kazakhstan

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A Kazakhstan national flag flies at half staff over Almaty.
A Kazakhstan national flag flies at half staff over Almaty.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Vladimir Tretyakov, FILE

Five people, including two police officers, have been killed in a shooting in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty.

Authorities said that the shooting broke out between police and a gunman when bailiffs came to enforce an eviction notice.

"A resident of the house...opened fire on the bailiffs, police officers, and employees of the emergency department," police said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

Almaty deputy police chief Rustam Abdrakhmanov said that the suspect used a hunting rifle and had been arrested.

Two policemen, a bailiff, and two civilians were among the victims, he added.

"The situation is under control. Criminal proceedings have been initiated. Investigations are underway."

Armed incidents are very rare in the central Asian country, but problems related to unpaid property loans are recurrent.

There have been several demonstrations in Kazakhstan in recent years against the backdrop of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had expressed condolences to his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in a phone conversation on Monday following the shooting.