Police block the road toward Kyrgyzstan's ex-president Almazbek Atambayev's residence in the village of Koi-Tash, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the capital, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Aug. 7, 2019.
Police block the road toward Kyrgyzstan's ex-president Almazbek Atambayev's residence in the village of Koi-Tash, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the capital, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Aug. 7, 2019.

BISHKEK - Updated Aug. 8, 2019, 12:15 p.m.

Kyrgyz special police forces have detained former President Almazbek Atambaev after a security operation that turned violent left one person dead, according to news accounts.

Russia's Interfax news agency and Kyrgyz media reported Thursday Atambaev was detained at his home in the village of Koi-Tash near the capital of Bishkek after at least one failed attempt.

Police stormed Atambaev's compound after their first attempt to detain him overnight failed amid violent clashes with his supporters that also left dozens injured.

The move came shortly after six special-forces troops captured at the compound late on August 7 by Atambaev’s supporters had been released.

FILE - Kyrgyz former President Almazbek Atambayev, who was stripped of legal immunity after a parliamentary vote, and his supporters attend a meeting with journalists in the village of Koy-Tash near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan June 27, 2019.

The 62-year-old Atambaev faces five counts of criminally abusing his office when he was Kyrgyzstan's president from 2011 to 2017 -- including corruption, abuse of office, and illegally enriching himself.

Atambaev rejects the charges and resisted police attempts on August 7 to detain him for questioning.

President Sooronbai Jeenbekov and Atambaev have blamed each other for the bloodshed.

Authorities moved in on the former president’s compound to carry out a subpoena in an unspecified investigation but were met with armed resistance by Atambaev’s supporters.

He called the attempt to arrest him unconstitutional and illegal and told reporters at the compound on Thursday that it is Jeenbekov and his government who carry responsibility for the violence because of how they conducted the raid.

“Apart from the special-forces member who died of his wounds, the Health Ministry said 80 people were wounded in the clash, including at least 15 police officers. Two of the hostages released on August 8 had suffered gunshot wounds, the ministry added.
Jeenbekov and Atambaev have traded accusations of incompetence and a lack of professionalism in recent months.

The storming of the compound comes after Deputy Interior Minister Mirlan Kanimetov and several other officials visited Atambaev on July 22 after he had refused to obey a subpoena for a third time.

 

Armed supporters of Kyrgyz former President Almazbek Atambayev guard his house during an operation of state security forces to detain Atambayev, in the village of Koi Tash, Aug. 07, 2019.

Under Kyrgyz law, a person who refuses to comply with two subpoenas can be forcibly detained for questioning.

After parliament on June 27 voted to strip immunity from prosecution for former presidents, the embattled Atambaev has spent most of his time at his residential compound and has publicly stated that he has weapons.

His lawyer has called the immunity vote unconstitutional.

Kyrgystan saw a smooth and peaceful transfer of power from Atambaev to Jeenbekov, which was welcomed by the international community after the two previous presidential changes -- in 2005 and 2010 -- came after violent rioting.

The former Soviet republic remains closely allied with Russia, which operates a military base in the northern Kyrgyz town of Kant.