Kazakhstan in flames as three cops found BEHEADED in bloody uprising & Putin flies in tanks to crush fuel-price riots

KAZAKHSTAN has been left in flames during a bloody uprising which has seen three cops BEHEADED by mobs in the street.

Tanks of Russian peacekeeping troops are now being sent into the former soviet state to crush the protests that began on Sunday over a sharp rise in prices for fuel.

A burnt car is seen by the mayors office on fire in Kazakhstan

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A burnt car is seen by the mayors office on fire in KazakhstanCredit: Getty
Putin has been flying in tanks of peacekeeper troops

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Putin has been flying in tanks of peacekeeper troopsCredit: AP
Protests are spreading across Kazakhstan over the rising fuel

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Protests are spreading across Kazakhstan over the rising fuelCredit: Reuters
Kazakhstan has declared a nationwide state of emergency

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Kazakhstan has declared a nationwide state of emergencyCredit: AFP
Security forces are being used in a counterterrorism operation to stop mass unrest

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Security forces are being used in a counterterrorism operation to stop mass unrestCredit: Getty

In total 13 police have been killed – and the Kazakh government said the severing of three officers’ heads proved that riots were of a “terrorist character”.

It is not yet known if the rioters decapitated the victims while they were still alive or mutilated their bodies after they died.

Some 353 law enforcement officers were wounded in flashpoint city Almaty.

One video shows protesters outside a hospital forming a “human shield” apparently angry that wounded police were getting priority over demonstrators.

They demanded “no treatment for cops”.

Another deeply shocking video shows the bodies of dozens of protesters killed in the bloody unrest.

The corpses in a mortuary in Almaty indicate the scale of the carnage.

A commentary on the macabre footage says: “The corpses, the bodies of the protesters.

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“Different ages, young people. These are all protesters – adult, young. Very young.”

The camera shows one corpse up close. 

“This one had surgery, stitches can be seen, but he died despite this .”

Overnight police spokesman Saltanat Azirbek admitted the slaughter of “dozens” of protesters.

“Extremist forces attempted to storm the administrative buildings, the police department of the city of Almaty as well as district directorates and police departments,” she said. 

“Dozens of attackers were eliminated, their identities are being established.”

Videos also show widespread looting in the city with seven hypermarkets totally empty of goods  in the country’s worst-ever mass unrest. 

At least one gun shop was also looted and weapons were stolen when rampaging protesters overran the Almaty branch of the National Security Committee, the state secret service, equivalent of the Russian FSB. 

Meanwhile, Russia and other ex-Soviet states have started to answer a call by the Kazakh president for military reinforcements.

RUSSIAN TANKS

Russian paratroopers are on the ground in Kazakhstan in the role of “peacekeepers” from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation which comprises a number of ex-Soviet states. 

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev last night said: “Today I appealed to the heads of CSTO states to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat.

He added he blamed “terrorist bands”, saying: “In fact, this is no longer a threat.

“It is undermining the integrity of the state.”

The authorities – struggling to keep control of the energy-rich country amid the unprecedented protests – have not given a death toll for demonstrators, while stressing that a number of police have died.

TV reports said more than 1,000 were injured in the violence. – 400 people were hospitalised, and 62 people are in intensive care – before today’s shootings. 

GAS PRICES

The violence follows a doubling of prices for gas. 

The country has seen pent up resentment over low wages and poverty and the enrichment of a narrow elite controlling the government and Kazakhstan’s oil and gas reserves. 

Last night a statue of former autocrat Nursultan Nazarbayev was toppled by an angry mob.

Nazarbayev, 81, yesterday gave up his final role in overall charge of security. 

Rumours suggest he may have fled to China or Russia. 

 One report said Russia had ten Il-76s and three An-124s involved in a massive military  operation to quell the disturbances. 

Some planes with Russian forces are already in Kazakhstan, where one in five of the population are ethnic Russian.

Protesters broke into the Almaty mayors office and set it on fire

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Protesters broke into the Almaty mayors office and set it on fireCredit: Getty
Three cops have been beheaded

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Three cops have been beheadedCredit: Reuters
Shops, banks and government buildings have been looted

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Shops, banks and government buildings have been lootedCredit: Alamy

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