Questions remain unanswered after bloody Kazakhstan unrest where President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accused on bandits and foreign militants.

It is unclear why so many civilians died, and who the
It is unclear why so many civilians died, and who the "foreign terrorists" the government blames for the violence are. (AFP)

As the dust settles on lethal clashes in Kazakhstan that prompted authorities to call in Russian-led troops, questions have mounted over government's handling of the unprecedented crisis. 

While President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has pinned the blame on bandits and foreign militants, many ordinary people question the official storyline.

Following days of internet shutdown, prosecutors announced late Saturday the unrest that began with peaceful protests over energy price hikes had left 225 people dead, including 19 law enforcement and military personnel.

But many stress that a number of issues remain unexplained.

It is unclear why so many civilians died, and who the "foreign terrorists" the government blames for the violence are. 

READ MORE: Kazakhstan significantly raises violent unrest death toll

Civilians died

Dauren Bitkembayev, 30, who lost his elderly parents in the unrest, told AFP news agency he needs answers.

He and others want to know why gun attacks on civilian cars in the country's largest city occurred even after the military had appeared to restore order. 

Some doubt the authorities will ever tell the whole truth.

Daniyar Moldabekov, a commentator and political reporter, said society was polarised. 

"With internet shut down, some turned out to be too susceptible to propaganda ready to believe that everyone who has been out on the streets is a terrorist and villain," he told AFP.

"Others understand that a lot of civilians died, there are a lot of innocent people in prisons, and instances of torture have been reported."

READ MORE: Russia-led bloc begins withdrawing troops from Kazakhstan

Members of law enforcement died

The government has offered detailed accounts of how members of law enforcement died but provided little evidence proving the involvement of "foreign terrorists".

Rights activists have been putting together a list of hundreds of people detained, killed or missing.

It has taken authorities days to release an official death toll.

Kazakhstan had initially acknowledged fewer than 50 fatalities. A higher mortality count of 164 had been quickly retracted last week. On Saturday, officials said 225 had died.

Over 12,000 people have been detained since the unrest erupted in early January, including journalists and rights activists.

READ MORE: Kazakhstan detains hundreds more after violent unrest

Source: TRTWorld and agencies