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Word ofmouth
Written by   
, 10 2011

ImageOn Friday, November 4th, it seemed as if the city of Karaganda was paralyzed. Lifelooked as if it had come to a halt: cafes and restaurants were deserted, and there was almost no one out in the streets, while parents came and took their children home from school and kindergarten. People were afraid to ride the buses, and it was impossible to catch a taxi. Butthe main thing there was information, by word of mouth, regarding alleged acts of terrorism, murders, and hostage taking Itwas the first time ever that the coal-mining capital of Kazakhstan had ever been enveloped in such a wave ofpanic.

It all began last Monday, when two powerful explosions thundered in the city of Atyrau. At8:45 am local time, a powerful explosion occurred in a garbage bin near the regional akimat. Afew moments later, an unidentified man blew himself up in vacant lot near an apartment building. Ithas now been determined that he was 24-year-old Baurzhan Sultangaliyev. Thebomb, as a matter of fact, exploded by accident, and the Islamic organization ‘Caliphate of al-Juanda’ claimed responsibility for the bombings.

All across the nation, increased security measures were announced. OnNovember 1st, regional interior ministry units were put on a high state of readiness in connection with the events in Atyrau. Itcan be assumed that this was in response to those who did not like the strengthening of our nation and preventive measures against religious terrorism. Theycalculated on intimidating the populace and sowingfear.

On the evening of November 3rd, readers telephoned a reporter from our newspaper without identifying themselves, and told about three schoolgirls who had been murdered near the new supermarket in Maykuduk. Everything was stated in categorical terms: no way to identify the victims, they had been beheaded.

But this was only a prelude to the nightmare that awaited the city the next day. Theflurry of phone calls to the editors was nonstop. People of all ages, professions, religions, and nationalities phoned in. Itwas noteworthy that those who “heard something about terrorist attacks or killings” could not name any specific source for the information. Inall cases, it came from “friends and acquaintances.”

The provocateurs’ powerful weapons were modern means of communication. Information came via cell phone texts, and messages on websites andblogs.

Events moved rapidly. Religious extremists allegedly were acting very quickly. Evengrown men, heads of families, as well as civil servants, succumbed to the general mood. Wives telephoned them and begged them to quickly go get the children from kindergarten or school bycar.

Initially it was reported that an attack had been carried out against one of the buses in the region of the 45th block. Wechecked it out, and got the same simple answer from ambulance medics, the police, and the emergencies directorate: “There were no emergency calls at that time.” Then, according to rumors, an attack took place on city bus number 70in Mikhailovka.

It seemed that the situation was simply getting out of control. After lunch, Zhanatay Sembekov, chief of information for the Karaganda district interior ministry, gave this commentary: “None of the rumors have been confirmed, and no such cases have been reported, so we are asking citizens to remain calm.”

Meanwhile, rumors of terrorist attacks in Karaganda reached the parliaments in Astana and Almaty. Majilis deputy Mukhtar Tinikeev in his Twitter blog also denied the dubious information. “Karaganda! Italked with General Rahimberlinym, head of the district interior ministry. There have been no gang MURDERS or BOMBINGS IN KARAGANDA, NONE!” He wrote in hisblog.

There was no reason for the panic. Really, how could any sane person believe any of this? Buton that day, many succumbed to the general hysteria. Thecapture of a kindergarten, frightening scenes of murder, bombings of buses, and police cordons around mosques were bandied about as if they were facts. Inreality, law enforcement agencies did inform us that there had been a police cordon around a mosque, but it was connected with travel by some of the city leadership.

Members of the clergy quickly held a press conference. Omirzak Bekkozha, the naib-Imam for city mosque 2, and Alpysbay Rashid, chief Imam for the Karaganda region, explained that rumors about casualties or damages on the eve of the main Muslim holiday Eid had been spread by members of certain destructive cults: “It is all misinformation! Nothing of the sort really happened. Thisis being done by enemies, by some non-traditional sects. Somebenefit from chaos. Itis a psychological attack to spoil our holiday. Today we called the police and asked them to intervene. Fellow citizens! Weask you not to respond to these rumors. Becalm and celebrate the holiday in good spirits.”

Karaganda bloggers are also asking Kazakhs not to panic from the rumors. Theyhave set up a social network with pictures of our hometown in order to refute rumors about a state of emergency. There are no gatherings of police on the streets, and people actcalm.

But late at night Karaganda is unusually quiet and deserted as the survival instincts have taken over. Official commentary and appeals from the authorities and clergy defused the situation, while many on the Internet are displaying their imagination. Hereis one of their bulletins: “According to recent reports, the central department store in the city of Karaganda was blown up, partially damaging the Abzal shopping mall. Meanwhile, three aircraft and a flying saucer crashed into the city mall. Anarmy of aliens headed by the monster Cthulhu seized most of the southeast area. Angry monkeys were tossing filth around in the central park, but they then fled in an unknown direction. Ahuge army of Yetis and female elves is marching on the city from the direction of Temirtau. According to the UN, however, Superman has been directed to assist us, so have no fear.”

The district interior ministry’s press service reported that police are on alert, but only in order to “protect public order and the safety of citizens in connection with the approach of Eid. Thisis the usual practice of law enforcement agencies, and such measures are always taken on the holidays.”

In ‘Avitrek-region’

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Written by - website, on 12-11-201119:58
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Rumormongers were arrested in regions of Kazakhstan for passing around rumors about murders, reported citing a source in the Interior Ministry.

In the Almaty area a woman came to the police and reported that an unknown person called her on her cell phone with a threats that to murder her children, the ministry reported. Police officers found the caller, and it turned out that the woman was called by a 29-year-old female acquaintance who was trying to frighten her just for fun.

In Uralsk, police found graffiti scrawled by the entrance to an apartment building. Itdiscussed the murder of children. A 14-year-old male was detained is undergoing investigation, reported the Interior Ministry.

In the South Kazakhstan region there was another case. On the wall of a school there was found graffiti about murder. A15-year-old resident of the area was identified and detained. Hestated that he wrote the inscription as an act of hooliganism after he saw a story on television, stated the police source. Anexample from another part of the South Kazakhstan region: A boy was spreading rumors to parents that unknown persons would murder schoolchildren, and in this regard, he said that attacks would allegedly take place. Hewas identified and detained. Headmitted that he spread the rumors. He is now being investigated, and steps are being taken to prosecutehim

Earlier it was reported that the Interior Ministry was investigating reports that are causing public outcry. According to the police, none of the reports has been confirmed.

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