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Supporters of Ousted Kyrgyz Leader Seize Airport, Government Buildings


Supporters of Kyrgyzstan's ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev have stormed local government offices and an airport in the country's turbulent south.

Opponents of the interim government seized control of administration buildings in the southern cities of Jalalabad and Batken Thursday. Media reports from the region say protesters have also taken over the airport in the city of Osh.

Earlier, small skirmishes were reported as pro-Bakiyev demonstrators broke into a regional government office in Osh and demonstrated against the country's new interim leaders.

The protesters brought a pro-Bakiyev regional governor who had been dismissed by the interim government, into the office and demanded his reinstatement.

Foreign Ministry officials from Belarus, where ousted President Bakiyev has taken refuge, said Thursday the country has recalled its ambassador from Kyrgyzstan and that all Belarusian diplomats have left the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, for security reasons.

The Kyrgyz interim government has sent Acting Defense Minister Ismail Isakov to Osh to monitor the situation in the southern part of the country.

Kyrgyzstan's provisional government has struggled to assert its authority in the south, where Mr. Bakiyev still has a strong base of support.

Mr. Bakiyev fled Kyrgyzstan after he was toppled on April 7 during protests that killed 85 people. The opposition took power after the president was ousted while under allegations of corruption and nepotism.

The interim government has charged Mr. Bakiyev with mass killings, accusing him of ordering security forces to open fire on anti-government protesters during the uprising. They are asking for his extradition from Belarus.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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