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16 Arrested For Unrest In Western Kazakhstan

Interior Ministry troops patrol past partially burnt buildings damaged in riots in the town of Zhanaozen.
Nurserik Sharipov, an official at the Manghystau provincial court in western Kazakhstan, has said that 16 people have been arrested for involvement in the December 16 riots in the city of Zhanaozen and nearby town of Shetpe.

Kazakh police and security troops opened fire at the protesting oil workers in the town of Zhanaozen in western Manghystau Oblast on December 16.
The Prosecutor-General's Office says 15 men and women were killed and almost 100 were injured. Other reports say the number of casualties was much higher.

Sharipov said there was proof all 16 of those in custody were in Zhanaozen and Shetpe the day of the violence.

Sharipov did not give further details, saying only that those arrested were charged with "participation in a mass disturbance."

Zhanaozen has been one of several towns and cities in western Kazakhstan where oil workers have been on strike since May.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said on December 23 that some of the participants in the December 16 violence were drunk and had received 20,000 tenge (about $135) to incite the riot.

compiled from agency reports