News / Asia

Lukashenko: Ousted Kyrgyz Leader in Belarus

Kurmanbek Bakiyev and family under protection in Minsk

Kyrgyzstan's ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev has taken refuge in Belarus, as Kyrgyz interim leaders are struggling to restore order following a violent uprising.

Mr. Bakiyev fled the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, for his southern stronghold of Jalalabad during violent anti-government protests on April 7 that killed 84 people.  Last week, he traveled to neighboring Kazakhstan, then left Monday for an undisclosed location.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday that Mr. Bakiyev and his family are under his protection in the capital, Minsk.

Meanwhile, the situation in Kyrgyzstan remains tense. Security forces were on patrol Tuesday on the outskirts of Bishkek, where at least five people were killed in ethnic violence a day earlier.

The interim government warned Tuesday police would use deadly force against armed assailants. The warning came after hundreds of Kyrgyz attacked ethnic Russians and Turks in the village of Mayevka in an effort to seize their land.

Also Tuesday, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to take measures to protect ethnic Russians and Russian interests in Kyrgyzstan.

Following the April 7 uprising, the Kremlin sent 150 paratroopers to its base in Kyrgyzstan to protect military personnel, as well as Russian citizens, at its embassy and other diplomatic facilities.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov, in Moscow on an official visit, said the current developments in Kygyzstan are dangerous for all neighboring countries.

The European Union said it was ready to offer the interim government political and financial help if it embraces democracy.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe urged Kyrgyzstan's interim leaders to restore public order in the country.  

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

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