Nearly 8,000 people have been detained in Kazakhstan after days of historic unrest left more than 160 people dead.

Kazakhstan on Monday was observing a day of national mourning after the worst unrest in the republic's independent history.
Kazakhstan on Monday was observing a day of national mourning after the worst unrest in the republic's independent history. (AA)

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has described days of historic unrest in his Central Asian country as a coup attempt and vowed his security services would never shoot peaceful protesters.

"Armed militants who were waiting in the wings joined the protests. The main goal was obvious: the undermining of the constitutional order, the destruction of government institutions and the seizure of power. It was an attempted coup d'etat", he said on Monday.

During a meeting with the leaders of other former Soviet countries, Tokayev said his security forces would not shoot protesters rallying peacefully.

"We have never fired and will never fire on peaceful demonstrators," he said.

During the unrest, the Moscow-led CSTO military alliance sent a detachment of 2,500 troops to the country following a request from Tokayev.

The Kazakh president said on Monday, during a meeting with leaders of CSTO countries – including Russian leader Vladimir Putin – that the Russian-led mission in Kazakhstan would end "soon".

READ MORE: A who’s who of the unrest in Kazakhstan

Nearly 8,000 detained

Nearly 8,000 people have been detained in Kazakhstan after days of historic unrest, the interior ministry said Monday.

"As of January 10, 7,939 people have been detained," the interior ministry said in a statement noting that several branches of the security services had been involved in the detentions.

Kazakhstan on Monday was observing a day of national mourning after the worst unrest in the republic's independent history.

The National Security Committee said in a statement that the country, including government and military facilities, was fully under the control of security services.

"Areas where militants and rioters might be hiding are being cleared. Evidence of criminal activity is being collected and recorded," the statement read.

Ex-Soviet Kazakhstan has been left reeling in the wake of unprecedented unrest that erupted earlier this month in the midst of protests over a fuel price hike in the west of the country.

READ MORE: More than 160 killed in violent Kazakhstan protests

Source: TRTWorld and agencies