Karim Massimov's detention comes days after he was fired amid violent protests sparked by a gas price hike.

Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan's main city on Friday after days of violence.
Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan's main city on Friday after days of violence. (AFP)

Kazakhstan authorities have detained Karim Massimov, the former head of the national security committee, and some other officials on suspicion of treason.

The National Security Committee, or KNB, on Saturday in a statement said that its former chief, Masimov, had been detained on Thursday after it launched an investigation into charges of high treason.

READ MORE: Explained: What's behind the violent unrest in oil-rich Kazakhstan?

Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan's main city on Friday after days of violence, and the president said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill to put down a countrywide uprising. 

Massimov is widely viewed as a close ally of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev. 

He has twice been prime minister and has also served as head of the presidential administration under Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev, 81, was the longest-serving ruler of an ex-Soviet state until he turned over the presidency to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in 2019. 

His family is widely believed to have retained influence in Nur-Sultan, the purpose-built capital that bears his name. 

Dozens of protesters killed

Security forces in Kazakhstan have killed dozens of protesters after a gas price hike triggered massive demonstrations across the country.

Hundreds of security officers have been wounded and over a dozen killed, officials told local media. 

More than 2000 people were detained for disrupting public order during demonstrations that erupted across the country, media reports showed.

Police remain deployed on the streets of Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, where massive rallies were held.

Holding the government responsible for the protests launched against a recent hike in LPG prices, Tokayev on Wednesday approved the resignation of premier Askar Mamin and his ministers.

As protests spread across the country, Tokayev declared a state of emergency in the city of Almaty and the oil-rich Mangystau region in the west from January 5-19 to maintain public security. 

He also imposed a curfew in Almaty, the country’s former capital, where thousands of people had taken to the streets.

At Tokayev's invitation, a Russia-led military alliance has been deployed at a time of high tension in East-West relations. 

Russia and the United States are gearing up for talks next week on the Ukraine crisis.

READ MORE: Kazakh leader authorises forces to 'fire without warning' as deaths mount

Source: TRTWorld and agencies