Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev has set up a commission to investigate and punish the instigators of riots in the oil town of Zhanaozen that left at least 14 people dead, his press service said.
Violent clashes broke out on the town's central square on Friday when a group of men attacked police officers as the country marked the 20th anniversary of its independence. Local media reports identified the attackers as employees of the state-controlled KazMunaiGas energy company.
Nazarbayev on Saturday held a meeting of the national Security Council to discuss the situation in Zhanaozen. Interior Minister Kalmukhanbet Kasymov has been appointed the head of the commission to investigate the riots. “The instigators will be punished to the full extent of the law,” Nazarbayev said.
The government of Kazakhstan is acting openly and is not going to hinder the work of journalists in Zhanaozen, Foreign Minister Erzhan Kazykhanov said on Monday.
“From the very beginning we have insisted on openness and transparency when dealing with the situation in Zhanaozen. A large group of foreign and domestic journalists are currently there,” he added.
The foreign minister added that international monitoring missions may be allowed into Zhanaozen. “We are open and do not want any speculation about the tragedy in Zhanaozen.”
President Nursultan Nazarbayev declared a 20-day state of emergency in Zhanaozen on Saturday and ordered an investigation into the worst violence in the former Soviet state in years.