In Alma-Ata, the state of emergency continues to operate due to the threat of a second attack by the militants. In the evening, sirens howl in the city, residents are asked to stay at home so as not to fall under an accidental bullet. Broken shop windows, huge queues at ATMs and a closed metro remind of the coup attempt in Kazakhstan. There are also queues at the morgues – in Alma-Ata alone, more than 100 people were killed during the massacre between security officials and extremists.
Aleksandr Krasner, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta – Kazakhstan, told MK about what is happening in the city and what Alma-Ata looks like now.
– Is it known how many people died in Alma-Ata?
– There is very contradictory information about the dead people, no one knows the exact number, and we assume that the announced figures, as always, are underestimated. About what we know: a teenager died among the civilian population, his mother sent him to the store for bread, he noticed military snipers and began to shoot. They shot to kill – emergency mode. The son of the rector of our main university, KazNU, was also killed. He was driving in a car with friends and also began filming a military convoy.
– What restrictions are in effect in the city now?
– We have a curfew from 23:00 to 7:00, it will last until January 19. Around 22:00 a siren starts to howl, a loudspeaker warns that in an hour it will be impossible to leave the house, drive cars, and so on. At this time, patrols can fire without warning, they can put them in jail. Although many say that our curfew is supposedly mild, this is not the case.
During this period, my friend became ill, there is an ambulance across the street from his house, but no one came to him, because they were forbidden to provide assistance during the curfew. He passed away. If help had been provided, then, perhaps, he would have remained alive.
– And how do the authorities explain such a strict curfew? Do you still have a threat of mass clashes?
– President Tokayev first announced the figure – 20 thousand attackers. To date, only about 10 thousand people have been detained. That is, 20 thousand is a gigantic figure, but 10 is also a lot. The threat may appear, they are walking somewhere, and with weapons.
– What other consequences of the past events are now visible in Alma-Ata?
– The metro does not work, apparently due to fear of terrorist attacks. Extremists can hide in the outskirts and there really were a lot of them. We saw this huge crowd, it was compared to the “black river” because they were dressed in everything dark.
Communication is now fully restored, ground transport is all working. There are very long queues at ATMs, because most of the branches of banks and ATMs were destroyed. People cannot withdraw cash and people line up in queues of 70. There were queues for gasoline because of its shortage, but now everything is fine.
Broken windows covered with plywood can be seen in the city. If we talk about products, they smashed some large retail chains, did not touch small stores, so there was practically no interruption in goods.