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Kazakhstan Invites UN To Probe Deadly Rioting

Kazakh Interior Ministry troops patrol in Aqtau, the regional capital of the western region, on December 21.
Kazakhstan's prosecutor-general has reportedly invited the United Nations to take part in the investigation into last week's deadly clashes between security forces and protesters in the oil-rich west.

Prosecutors now say 15 people were killed in the town of Zhanaozen on December 16, raising the previous death toll of 14. A clash in a nearby village one day later killed one person.

His press service said Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General Askhat Daulbaev invited the UN to take part in the investigation at a meeting on December 22 in the capital, Astana, with the UN human rights envoy for Central Asia, Armen Harutyunyan.

President Nursultan Nazarbaev blamed "hooligans" for the violence and imposed a state of emergency in Zhanaozen.

But the United States said it was "deeply concerned", and video emerged on the Internet that appeared to show security forces beating and even firing on some of the fleeing protesters.

Human Rights Watch has called on Kazakhstan to "immediately investigate" allegations of torture and ill-treatment of the dozens of people detained after the riots.

compiled from agency reports