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Kazakhstan arrests spy ‘planning attack’ on president

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 10, 2019 Kazakh president-elect Kassym-Jomart Tokayev speaks to the media during a press conference at Ak Orda Presidential Palace in Nur-Sultan. - Protesters stormed the mayor's office in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty on January 5, 2022, as unprecedented unrest in the Central Asian nation spun out of control. Sparked by a New Year energy price increase, protests swept across Kazakhstan in a rare challenge to the ex-Soviet country's authoritarian government. The protests are the biggest threat so far to the regime established by Kazakhstan's founding president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who stepped down in 2019 and ushered loyalist Kassym-Jomart Tokayev into the presidency. (Photo by Vyacheslav OSELEDKO / AFP)

Kazakhstan’s security services on Sunday said they have arrested a foreign spy allegedly plotting an attack against the president and other high-level officials.

“A foreign intelligence agent, a Kazakh citizen, was arrested on March 25 in Nur-Sultan by the counter-espionage services,” the National Security Committee said in a statement.

The suspect “was planning an attack against the president of Kazakhstan and a number of high-level officials,” as well as against members of the special services and security forces, the statement said.

A foreign-made gun, drugs and large sums of money had been found during a search of his home.

The statement added the suspect had confessed after his arrest and a terrorism investigation had been opened.

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Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic and Central Asia’s richest country, descended into violence in early January when peaceful protests over a fuel price hike unravelled into bloody clashes and looting.

More than 200 died and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called in troops from a Russia-led security bloc to re-establish control.

Kazakhstan framed the violence as an attack by “terrorist groups” and has criticised foreign media coverage of the events.

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