Kazakh police launch murder probe after 11 stabbed to death

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 14, 2012 9:35 AM

ALMATY (Reuters) - Police in Kazakhstan launched a murder investigation on Tuesday after the discovery of 11 bodies in a mountain gorge outside the country's largest city.

The victims were found with multiple stab wounds in a national park near Almaty. Among the dead were a well-known local park ranger, his common-law wife and several employees, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on its website, www.mvd.kz.

The ministry said police had not yet established a motive for the crime. Guns, jewelry and a safe containing the equivalent of nearly $16,000 inside the home of the 76-year-old ranger had not been touched, it said.

The unexplained deaths follow the killing in late May of 14 border guards and a herder at a remote post near Kazakhstan's frontier with China. The single surviving border guard admitted to the killings, though later withdrew his confession. He remains in custody.

Prosecutors said at the time that hazing, or severe bullying, could have prompted that massacre. The victims were shot and their border post set on fire.

In the latest case, six bodies were found in or near the ranger's house, the ministry said. A further five were found in the burned-out home of another park ranger 25 km (16 miles) away. No arrests have been made.

(Reporting by Robin Paxton; Editing by Jon Boyle)