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9 Apr, 2010 08:35

Kyrgyzstan in mourning after violence

While the Kyrgyz president remains in the south of the country, the opposition say order has been restored in the capital Bishkek, worst hit by the violence, despite overnight clashes which have left dozens more injured.

The interim government promised to pay 1 million soms (around $22,200) to the families of those killed in the clashes of April 6-8. So far the death toll stands at 79, with almost 1,500 people injured. April 9 and 10 have been declared days of mourning.

According to interim Finance Minister Temir Sariyev, a criminal case has been launched with regards to those individuals who gave shoot-to-kill orders.

“A commission will present its findings within a short while. After the commission ends its work, we'll be able to comment about the degree of responsibility. But I can say they will be brought to account,” he promised.

The interim head of the national security service, Keneshbek Dyushebaev, stated the clashes were organized by President Bakiyev’s supporters. While former Prosecutor General Azimbek Beknazarov has named the person behind the violence.

In a televised address he pointed the finger at the president’s brother and head of the security service, Zhanysh Bakiyev. Beknazarov said his involvement has been established and he has been put on a wanted list.

Matter of legitimacy

The interim government said that if Kurmanbek Bakiyev agrees to negotiate and if he steps down, he will not be pursued after that.

“Bakiyev has the option to leave the country. We guarantee he will be safe to do so if he gives up power,” Roza Otunbaeva said.

However, President Bakiyev, who has given several interviews to foreign media, does not recognize the provisional government as legitimate. He said he is not going to step down. So who and when will be brought to justice is the question of who will remain in power.

While the head of the interim government, Roza Otunbaeva, is in Bishkek bringing in the first “long-awaited” changes, as she claims, her cabinet ministers need to convince foreign governments of their legitimacy.

Otunbaeva ruled out the possibility of a civil war in Kyrgyzstan, saying that her government “will not let it break out.”

“We are doing our best to improve the situation. The most important thing is that we have instruments, resources and possibilities for this, as well as the support of people, who are ready to protect the new authorities,” she said.

Meanwhile, on Friday morning mines were found in three parts of Kyrgyz capital. Security services attribute them to President Bakiyev's brother Zhanysh.

According to Otunbaeva the anti-opposition actions are co-ordinated by the younger son of President Maksim Bakiyev from the United Arab Emirates.

A delegation led by the deputy head of the interim government, Almazbek Atambaev, has flown out to Moscow, Interfax reports. The agenda and level of the meeting are not known.

Meanwhile the US Helsinki Commission stated on Thursday it supports the goals of the provisional government to introduce constitutional and electoral reform, Itar-Tass reports.

At the same time, US officials have held a meeting with the Kyrgyz foreign minister from Bakiyev’s government, Kadyrbek Sarbaev, who is now in Washington. But as the US State Department spokesman, Philip Crowley, later said, the aim was simply to inform the Kyrgyz side they will not be able to hold the high-level bilateral talks previously scheduled for Friday.

Read also – Kyrgyzstan One Step Away from Civil War