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21 Apr, 2010 12:19

New Kyrgyz government authorizes opening fire on looters

New Kyrgyz government authorizes opening fire on looters

As the interim government tries to stabilize the situation in Kyrgyzstan, acting Prime Minister Roza Otunbayeva has issued an authorization to shoot at looters.

"In the event of criminal attacks on citizens, encroachments on their life and health, their houses and private property, and in case of attacks on civilian and military facilities, law enforcement bodies are authorized to shoot to kill," Otunbayeva warned.

The country’s defense minister, Ismail Isakov, says that the interim government is in full control of the situation in the country. "The border service is working as normal, and the situation at the border is stable," said Isakov at a meeting with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Secretary-General Muratbek Imanaliev.

The SCO Secretary-General said that the organization is supporting the interim government’s efforts to stabilize the situation in the country: "All the necessary assistance on the part of the SCO will be provided without delay. Special emphasis will be placed on the fair and open organization of the upcoming elections. It is very important to establish stability, law, and order in the country," he said.

Bakiyev refuses to step down, saying “only death will stop” him

Meanwhile, the ousted Kyrgyz President demolished rumors of his resignation, saying the he refuses to step down as the country’s President: "As President of Kyrgyzstan and the guarantor of the constitution, I am not evading responsibility for the disaster that my people are going through, and I am prepared to bear responsibility," said Bakiyev at the CIS headquarters in Minsk on Wednesday.

“There is no force that can stop me…only death will stop me,” added Bakiyev.

Bakiyev also asked the international community not to recognize the interim government, calling it the “illegitimate gang’s authority.” "People of Kyrgyzstan, do not believe that you are alone. I will do all I can to return Kyrgyzstan under the framework of the constitution. I will not let some thugs determine the people's fate," Bakiyev said, promising to construct an “independent and democratic state.”

At the same time, Bakiyev has demanded an independent international probe into the current events in the country: "I demand an independent international investigation and punishment for those responsible for the death of people, for marauding and for inter-ethnic discord," Bakiyev said.

EU pledges its support to the interim government if it adheres to democracy

The European Union has offered to help to the Kyrgyz interim government economically and politically. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton said, as quoted by the Interfax news agency,  that the EU "won’t stay aside” if the new Kyrgyz authorities are interested in creating a democratic state.

CSTO considers more radical actions

Another type of help has been offered by the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The CSTO said it may intervene in the situation in Kyrgyzstan in case of a civil war in the country, said Andrei Grozin, the head of the CIS Studies Institute’s Central Asia department. Although he added that this scenario would not be desirable for Russia and its allies in the region.

"If the new Kyrgyz authorities cannot establish order on their own and the country slides into a civil war, if interethnic clashes continue and the south splits from the north, then CSTO intervention cannot be ruled out," Grozin told Interfax on Tuesday.

"If the situation worsens, nobody can establish order except the CSTO. Not the UN, nor China, nor NATO will take care of this. If the crisis worsens without the CSTO, Kyrgyzstan's problems will become Kazakhstan's, Uzbekistan's and Russia's problems. Therefore Moscow, Tashkent and Astana will have no other choice," said Grozin, adding however that there are strong chances that the Kyrgyz provisional government can settle the crisis on its own.

Kyrgyz authorities claim law and order has been installed

Meanwhile, representatives of Bishkek’s milita reported that there have been no riots in Bishkek on Tuesday night and the situation in the capital was calm. About 15,000 voluntary militiamen have been deployed to patrol Bishkek’s streets and to control the situation in the capital. "The situation in Bishkek is stable, hotbeds of unrest in Mayovka [a Bishkek suburb] have been suppressed, the situation in the lower part and outskirts of Bishkek is being stabilized and is fully under police control," Dair Kenekeyev, a co-ordinator from the headquarters of militia units, told journalists on Wednesday. He added that, in case of mass unrests, the militiamen are authorized to use force.

The Kyrgyz police are expected to resume full-scale operations after the interim government appointed a new Interior Ministry head. As RIA news agency reports, citing the ministry’s spokesman, Baktibek Alymbekov, as been appointed as the acting Interior Minister, replacing Bolotbek Sherniyazov, who occupied the post during Bakiyev’s presidency.

On Monday, April 19, the police staged a rally in Bishkek, threatening not to go to work until a new head of Police was appointed.

Riots continue

However, despite authorities’ efforts, the situation is not entirely calm throughout the country. According to Fergana.ru, gunshots were heard at another riot in support of the ousted President Bakiyev, which was held in Dzhalal-Abad. The agency also reports that, not only Bakiyev’s supporters, but his opponents as well, gathered at the city’s main square. However, Fergana.ru says that there have been no clashes, although the situation became tense when a man fired several shots into the air, shouting “Bakiyev! Bakiyev!” and ran away. There has also been information about some casualties.

Contrary to these reports, another news agency, “24.kg” reports that Wednesday’s rally in Dzhalal-Abad grew into “mass unrests”. “Groups of about 300-400 aggressive young men are chasing each other with stones and sticks,” says the news agency. However, this information has not been confirmed by other sources.

At the same time, AKI-press reports that Bakiyev’s supporters have been forced to move from the central square. It also says that the city governor’s office, which was earlier taken by Bakiyev’s supporters, has now been occupied by interim government representative Bektur Asanov.

Bakiyev’s supporters detained

The interim deputy Prime Minister Azimbek Beknazarov said that Bakiyev’s loyalists, including the self-proclaimed governor of Dhalal-Abad region, Faizulla Rakhmanov, have been retained. "The self-appointed key figures in the Jalal-Abad regional authorities, and women who initiated unrest in the regional center, all of them local residents, have been detained," Beknazarov said, citing the 24.kg news agency.

The acting deputy prime minister also accused Bakiyev’s supporters of destabilizing the political situation in the country, and said that the new authorities will prevent them from doing so.

$20 million is “pocket money” for some

The interim finance minister, Temir Seriyev, told Interfax on Wednesday that they have uncovered $20 million in bank assets, as well as gold bullion in Kyrgyz commercial banks, belonging to Bakiyev’s relatives. "This money was intended for pocket expenses," said Seriyev, adding that an investigation has been launched, after which the names of the owners will be disclosed.

Hunt for Bakiyev’s younger brother continues

The country’s special services are continuing an operation to detain Zhanushbek Bakiyev, who is also the former head of the state’s personal security service, reports Interfax, citing a source in Kyrgyz special services. According to this source, Zhanushbek Bakiyev is in Dhalal-Abad region, but he is constantly changing his whereabouts: "The Jalal-Abad regional law enforcement agencies could have detained Bakiyev long ago if not for a shield of women and children ready to protect him." However, the source told Interfax, the security forces do not want to use force to detain him, because otherwise “blood will be shed, and there could be as many casualties as in Bishkek.”

Olga Masalkova, RT