NUR-SULTAN -- Two more close relatives of Nursultan Nazarbaev have lost their posts in the latest indication that the Kazakh government was moving to purge or squeeze members of the former president’s extended family in the wake of unprecedented political turmoil.
On January 17, Kazakhstan's National Chamber of Entrepreneurs, Atameken, announced the resignation of its chairman, Timur Kulibaev, a son-in-law of Nazarbaev.
Kulibaev, one of the richest people in the oil-rich former Soviet republic, is the husband of Nazarbaev's second daughter, Dinara.
The same day, President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev issued a decree to dismiss Nazarbaev's nephew Samat Abish from the post of deputy chairman of the Committee for National Security (KNB).
The moves came after two other sons-in-law of Nazarbaev were pushed out of top jobs at two major state energy companies.
Earlier, one of Nazarbaev's closest associates, KNB Chairman Karim Masimov, and his two deputies were arrested on high-treason charges.
Parts of Kazakhstan remain under a state of emergency imposed following deadly anti-government protests in early January.
Kazakh officials said over the weekend that at least 225 people, including 19 law enforcement officers, were killed during the unrest.
On January 17, journalists Asem Zhapisheva and Bella Orynbetova called on the authorities to publish the names of those killed, amid claims by some human rights activists that many of the victims were passersby who had nothing to do with the protests.
Without giving any details, Toqaev has claimed that thousands of "foreign terrorists" attacked the Central Asian nation's commercial capital, Almaty, and used that claim to justify his order to shoot to kill and his decision to invite troops to the country from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led military alliance.
The troops started leaving Kazakhstan last week after spending less than a week there.