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Terrorism & Security

Kyrgyzstan ex-president's brother arrested - with wig and fake mustache

Police say they found the brother of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev with a pistol and ammunition, a wig, and a false mustache and beard. He was arrested for having a role in the Kyrgyzstan violence last month.

By Correspondent / July 22, 2010

An April 13 file photo shows Kyrgyzstan's deposed president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, delivering a speech to his supporters in the town of Jalal-Abad in southern Kyrgyzstan. Police in Kyrgyzstan have detained a brother of the deposed president in a special operation, authorities said Thursday. Akhmat Bakiyev was captured Wednesday night on the outskirts of the family's political stronghold in the city of Jalal-Abad.

Sergei Grits/AP Photo/File

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Kyrgyzstan announced Thursday it has detained the brother of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, whom the government has accused of orchestrating the Uzbek ethnic violence that killed hundreds and displaced hundreds of thousands in June.

The arrest comes as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) voted Thursday to send a 52-member unarmed police force to southern Kyrgyzstan amid recent reports that ethnic Uzbeks are suffering abuse at the hands of Kyrgyz authorities.

Police captured Akhmat Bakiyev in a raid Wednesday night near Jalal-Abad, the Bakiyev family’s political stronghold in southern Kyrgyzstan. Police said he immediately confessed to a role in last month’s violence, the Associated Press reports. Found with him were a pistol and ammunition, a wig, and a false mustache and beard.

The rioting that erupted in June between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad in southern Kyrgyzstan is estimated to have killed at least 300 people, and possibly many more, and displaced 400,000. Ethnic Uzbeks were attacked, and Uzbek neighborhoods burned down. The interim government blames Mr. Bakiyev, who fled to Belarus after a bloody revolt in April, for instigating the violence.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that the fighting resulted in an ethnic cleansing of Uzbeks from the city of Osh that could affect the demographics and internal stability of Kyrgyzstan for years to come. The country is home to a US air base that is a critical link in the NATO supply route to Afghanistan, as well as Russian military installations.

The Associated Press reports that the arrest of Akhmat Bakiyev, who was described as a “shadow governor” of Jalal-Abad during the tenure of his brother, is part of a government campaign to round up associates of the former president suspected of having a hand in the violence. Among them are:

  • Former deputy head of the state guard service Nurlan Temirbayev, wanted for murder and abuse of office, who turned himself in Tuesday.
  • Maxim Bakiyev, the former president's son, who was arrested in early June in England after arriving in a private plane and asking British authorities to grant him asylum; Kyrgyzstan has reportedly requested he be extradited.
  • Bakiyev's other brother, Zhanybek, accused of ordering troops to open fire on crowds during the April uprising, who is still wanted.
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