Kazakh president gives shoot-to-kill order

"I gave an order to law enforcement agencies and the army to shoot to kill without warning"

These were the words of Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Friday (January 7), in a televised address.

As he told the country that he had instructed security forces to crush the nationwide uprising there, with orders to shoot to kill.

... an uprising he's blaming, without evidence, on foreign-trained terrorists.

"There have been calls abroad for the parties to move the negotiations to a peaceful resolution of the problems. What nonsense. What kind of negotiations can there be with criminals, with murderers?"

And the strategy seems to be working.

Residents were seen returning to the streets of the main city Almaty on Friday after days of violence.

Surrounded by destroyed buildings and charred vehicles.

Although gunfire could still be heard near the main square, a day after Moscow sent its own soldiers to help stop the uprising in the former Soviet state.

Dozens have died and unrest has been reported in other cities.

But with the internet shut off since Wednesday, it's difficult to determine the extent of the violence.

Mukhtar Ablyazov, an exiled former banker and cabinet minister turned opponent of the government, told Reuters the West must counter Russia's move.

"If Europe and the U.S. don't deceive themselves by thinking that it's just a small task force, then they will react the right way. If not, then Kazakhstan will turn into Belarus and Putin will methodically impose his program - the recreation of a structure like the Soviet Union."

Ablyazov was sentenced in absentia in Kazakhstan for fraud, embezzlement, and for organizing a murder, which he denies as politically motivated charges. Reuters caught up with him in France.

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