Kazakh ex-security chief held after violence

Authorities in Kazakhstan have detained Karim Massimov, the former head of the national security committee, on suspicion of treason, the security committee said on Saturday (January 8).

Massimov was fired this week as deadly protests raged across the Central Asian country. He was detained with several other unnamed officials.

Twice prime minister, Massimov is widely viewed as a close ally of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled Kazakhstan for nearly three decades.

Dozens have died and public buildings across Kazakhstan have been ransacked and torched in the worst violence experienced by the former Soviet republic in 30 years of independence.

They began in response to a fuel price hike but swelled into a movement against President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's Russian-backed government and Nazarbayev, whose family is widely believed to have retained influence.

By Friday, security forces appeared to have retaken the streets of Kazakhstan's main city of Almaty.

Tokayev said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill.

At his request, a Russia-led military alliance has also been deployed.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting