Kyrgyzstan authorizes deadly force on wave of riots, looting
Deposed Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev insisted from Belarus on Wednesday he was still the country's rightful leader, while the interim government in Bishkek authorized the use of deadly force to put down looting and ethnic violence.
Kyrgyzstan's ex-president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was deposed in a street revolt two weeks ago, has taken refuge in the dictatorship of Belarus, while the country's interim leaders are trying to control a wave of ethnic unrest touched off by his ouster.Skip to next paragraph
Interim leader Roza Otunbayeva on Wednesday gave orders for security officers to use "deadly force" on a wave of rioting and looting that has threatened her fledgling government's grip on power. That followed an appeal from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who on Tuesday expressed "deep concern" for the safety of ethnic Russians, who have been the victims of targeted attacks and illegal property seizures in recent days.
Speaking from Minsk, Belarus, Mr. Bakiyev continued to insist he was Kyrgyzstan's legitimate president, even as a spokesman for the interim government in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, insisted to CNN that Bakiyev had formally resigned under pressure from the US, Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Kazakhstan.
Bakiyev and his family turned up Tuesday in Minsk, where they will reportedly remain as the personal guests of Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko – a man whose oddball authoritarian regime near Europe's geographical center is an embarrassment even to its sole ally, the Kremlin.
"Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his family are in Minsk under the protection of our state and me personally," Mr. Lukashenko told journalists. "I ordered appropriate services of my administration to organize Bakiyev's transfer to Belarus."
Bakiyev, who resigned and fled Kyrgyzstan last week, is wanted for allegedly ordering riot police to open fire on protesters during the April 7 uprising, causing the deaths of at least 85 people.
The head of the interim government, Ms. Otunbayeva, slammed Lukashenko's decision to take Bakiyev in.