Kazakhstan former intelligence chief arrested on suspicion of treason amid unrest

The former intelligence chief of Kazakhstan, a two-time former prime minister, was arrested on suspicion of treason amid violence and unrest in the country, according to the state security agency he once led, Reuters reported.

The National Security Committee said on Saturday that its former head, Karim Massimov, had been detained. Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev fired Massimov from his position earlier this week, the news wire reported.

The news is the latest development in the former Soviet territory amid protests that were first ignited over rising fuel prices, but have since become a rebuke to former longtime President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose influence some believe has endured past his presidential terms.

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During a televised address on Friday, Tokayev said that he had ordered security forces to “shoot to kill” without warning, claiming at the time that “militants have not laid down their arms.”

"The militants have not laid down their arms, they continue to commit crimes or are preparing for them. The fight against them must be pursued to the end. Whoever does not surrender will be destroyed," Tokayev said in the address, according to Reuters.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes five former Soviet allies and Russia, have sent in troops to the country.

Kazakhstan has detained more than 4,400 people from the protests, according to its interior ministry. The Kremlin reported that Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinActing U.S. ambassador to Ukraine: Embassy families evacuated out of 'abundance of caution' Overnight Energy & Environment — 'Forever chemical' suits face time crunch US shipment of military equipment, munitions arrives in Ukraine MORE was told during a phone call with Tokayev that the situation was returning to order.