News / Europe

Ousted Kyrgyz Leader Says He is Still President

Mr. Bakiyev spoke Wednesday from Belarus, where he took refuge earlier this week after being toppled during violent anti-government protests

Kyrgyzstan's ousted leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev says he is still the rightful president of his country.

Mr. Bakiyev spoke Wednesday from Belarus, where he took refuge earlier this week after being toppled during violent anti-government protests on April 7 that killed 84 people.

Kyrgyzstan's interim leader dismissed his statement, saying Mr. Bakiyev signed a letter of resignation before he left the country last week. Roza Otunbayeva said the remarks were the "bravado of a man agonizing over his own helplessness."

Mr. Bakiyev said Wednesday he did not recognize his resignation and that "only death can stop me."  Speaking in Minsk, the deposed president also urged the international community not to recognize the interim government, which he called an illegitimate gang.

The provisional administration says Mr. Bakiyev should be extradited and face trial in connection with the shooting of demonstrators during the uprising.

Interim leaders also accuse the ousted president of corruption and nepotism.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says Mr. Bakiyev and his family are under his protection in the capital, Minsk.  Mr. Lukashenko on Wednesday pledged support for Mr. Bakiyev, and urged him to take part in Kyrgyzstan's planned presidential election.

The interim Kyrgyz government is struggling to maintain stability in the country.  Five people were killed Monday in an outbreak of ethnic violence on the outskirts of Bishkek.

On Wednesday, the interim government said authorities had taken control of a regional government building seized Sunday by Mr. Bakiyev's supporters in the southern city of Jalalabad.


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

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