Kazakhstan raises death toll from unrest to 225

The bodies of 225 people killed during unrest in Kazakhstan last week, including 19 members of the security forces, have been deposited in morgues across the country, the prosecutor general’s office said.

The figure included civilians and armed “bandits” killed by security forces, Serik Shalabayev, head of criminal prosecutions at the prosecutor’s office, said at a press briefing on Saturday.

He did not provide an exact breakdown of the numbers and said the numbers could be updated later.

Violent protests began this month in the Central Asian oil-producing country after a spike in car fuel prices.

The toll provided by Shalabayev confirmed that the violence was the deadliest in the country’s post-Soviet history.

Shalabayev said 50,000 people joined riots across the republic at their peak on Jan. 5 when mobs stormed and set fire to government buildings, cars, banks and shops in several major cities.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to a Russian-led military bloc for help during the unrest and ousted his former boss and predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev as head of the National Security Council.

After complaints of beatings and torture of those detained afterwards, Tokayev on Saturday ordered police to avoid abuse and told prosecutors to be lenient with those who did not commit serious crimes .

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