Six Suspects Arrested For Terror Attacks In Kazakhstan

ASTANA -- Kazakh police have arrested six suspected associates of an alleged terrorist who killed seven people in the southern city of Taraz earlier this month, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Prosecutor-General's Office spokesman Nurdaulet Suindikov told journalists in Astana on November 30 that "the spiritual leader of the terrorist group is among" those arrested.

He said the criminal group was created earlier this year and consists of people with prior convictions for different violent crimes.

Suindikov said the leader of the group "has been persuading its members to conduct jihad, namely to attack and kill police in order to establish an Islamic caliphate."

Suindikov added that forensic tests established that the group member who committed a terrorist act in Taraz on November 12 was under the influence of drugs at the time.

A man identified only as Kariev, and said to be 34 years old, shot seven people dead in running battles with security forces in Taraz. Four members of the security forces and two civilians were among those killed. Kariev later set off an explosive device when cornered by security troops, killing himself and another policeman.

Kariev's attack was preceded by two bombings in the western city of Atyrau on October 31.

A suspected extremist allegedly associated with an Islamic jihadist group called Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) seemed to accidentally blow himself up in the Caspian Sea port city, causing no other casualties.

Suindikov said at a press conference on November 30 that the Atyrau city court ruled on November 25 that Jund al-Khilafa is a terrorist organization and banned it.

"Anyone associated with Jund al-Khilafa in Kazakhstan will be officially charged with terrorism and extremism," he said.