Kyrgyz special forces conduct operation to detain former president

BISHKEK — The special forces of Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security are carrying out an operation to detain the country’s former president Almazbek Atambayev, the official Kabar news agency reported Wednesday.

“The soldiers were equipped only with rubber bullets. Currently, the detention operation continues,” Kabar said, citing the committee’s press service.

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The special forces attempted to storm Atambayev’s residence in the village of Koi-Tash near the capital of Bishkek, using flashbang grenades and rubber bullets, but they were resisted by about 200 supporters of the former leader, Sputnik news agency said.

The supporters armed with sticks and stones are preparing for another assault of the special forces who are receiving reinforcements, eyewitnesses told Sputnik.

At least 15 people were injured during the clashes, Kabar reported, citing the Health Ministry.

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov suspended his one-week vacation and went to Bishkek on Wednesday, according to a statement published on the presidential website.

A special commission of the Kyrgyz parliament found that Atambayev, 62, could be involved in six crimes during his presidency from December 2011 to November 2017.

The charges included the suspected corruption during the reconstruction of Bishkek’s thermal power station, the unlawful obtaining of land for building his residential house, and helping release Chenchen criminal Aziz Batukayev.

The Kyrgyz parliament voted on June 27 to deprive Atambayev’s immunity, paving the way for his detention and trial.

Atambayev called the allegations “absurd” and said that he was clean and ready to answer all the accusations.

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