Oppositionist from Atyrau Sabit Sultangaliyev believes that Altobe Salafis have been used by the Kazakh special services for their purposes.
“I am a practicing Muslim, so, I know hundreds and even thousands of Salafis (Wahhabis) all over Kazakhstan,” Sultangaliyev says on Facebook.
“Some of them are my friends, whom I meet from time to time to discuss some Islam-related topics. So, I know that non-conventional Muslims in Kazakhstan have no plans to overthrow President Nazarbayev or to build any Caliphate in their country. They just live for the sake of their faith,” Sultangaliyev says.
He admits that there are lots of criminals among Kazakh Salafis. “But they are not ISIL fighters. Kazakh Wahhabis are mostly people from poor families. They are ready to do any work so as not to die of hunger. You can see them selling second hand phones and spare parts and washing cars. Even if some of them committed some crimes, they did it because of their poverty. They are the easiest target for dirty games,” Sultangaliyev says.
He says that those people are not even aware of the corruption thriving in Kazakhstan and have no clear vision of their country’s future. “So, the so-called Aktobe terrorists were just victims of a provocation. They were just looking for a way out of their poverty. Somebody promised them good money for their lives. And it was not the ‘beer king’ (Sultangaliyev means Tokhtar Tuleshov, a beer magnate accused of attempting a coup - EADaily). I have heard that the man that committed a terrorist act in Atyrau (on Oct 31, 2011, a suicide bomber blew himself up in Atyrau’s Sary Arka commnuty - EADaily) was given an apartment before his death and his family lives there now. This is the point. People are ready to die for the sake of their families. If our police showed us the passports of foreign mercenaries, foreign arms and the dead bodies of killed foreigners who came to fight in our country, I would believe and even applaud them. But I can’t believe that a dozen of Wahhabis could organize a coup,” Sultangaliyev says.
“I think here we are dealing with some drug trafficking case. Aktobe is part of the drug trafficking chain going from Shymkent to Almaty and then to Orenburg, Samara and Moscow. Tuleshov was arrested in January. A day before the incident in Aktobe the police arrested former deputy prosecutor general Ilyas Bakhtybaev, former interior affairs chief of South Kazakhstan Region Hibratulla Doskaliyev and two military commanders. Islamists did have a role in this case but there was somebody who motivated them,” Sultangaliyev says.