border review | 18 June 2012

Kazakh border killings - what we know

Two weeks after the incident at a Kazakh border station, in which fourteen border guards and a gamekeeper (or a herder?) lost their lives, there are many theories about what happened.

First, Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev suspected an “act of terrorism”. Then, there was talk of an accidental fire, which, however, could not account for the allegedly missing weapons and horses. The Russian Newsland suggested US involvement to teach Kazakhstan a lesson. Or, if not, then at least something link Al-Qaede or an Uyghur separatist group.

Later, the fifteenth border guard, a 19 year old ethnic Russian, was found and blamed for the murders. He allegedly confessed that he was being mobbed by his comrades and killed them in some sort of mental delusion. His confession, on video, is detailed but seems strangely uninvolved, I find.

But then, as the Voice of Russia reports, the young soldier denied any involvement in the case.

Interestingly, as Katrina Senchuk notes, no report points to any Chinese involvement – despite widespread anti-Chinese sentiments in Central Asia and the fact that the seasonal border post was set up to counter the wildcrafting of herbs by Chinese collectors from across the border.

This entire story remains a complete mystery.