Belarus makes mass arrests after shooting of KGB agents

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MINSK – A total of 87 people have been arrested in Belarus for commenting on social media about a shootout that claimed two lives. This was disclosed by a human rights group.

This is the latest crackdown by the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko since he claimed victory in a discredited election more than a year ago.

An IT worker and a KGB security agent were shot dead during a raid on a flat in the capital Minsk on Tuesday.

The IT worker who became the victim was Andrey Zeltser (31) an opposition supporter. It is unclear how he and the agent were killed, and critics cast doubt on the government video purporting to show the attack taking place.

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Human rights group Viasna96 said the mass detentions began on Wednesday in reaction to social media posts about the shooting. They resumed on Thursday and the Belarusian leader said Friday that the number detained now stands in the hundreds.

While officials called Zeltser a “terrorist”, the remarks were ridiculed by his friend and colleague Alya Ilyukevich.

“If he is a terrorist, so am I,” he said BBC, Saturday (2/10/2021).

Zeltser works for American IT company Epam Systems and is reported to have United States (US) citizenship. Epam’s US bosses have in the past been accused by Belarusian leaders of financing protests.

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