Clashes as Kyrgyz authorities push to regain south

Clashes erupted in southern Kyrgyzstan as interim govt moved to regain control of regional administration buildings.

Updated: May 14, 2010, 15:46 PM IST

Bishkek: Clashes erupted in southern Kyrgyzstan on Friday as the interim government moved to regain control of regional administration buildings seized by supporters of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Shots were heard in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad, where hundreds of Bakiyev supporters battled factions loyal to the government with sticks and stones, reports said.

The government regained control of an administration building in Osh but the Bakiyev supporters still appeared to control the equivalent building in Jalalabad, the reports added.

On the main square of the city of Jalalabad several people were seen wounded, some with gunshot wounds, the Aki-Press news website and Radio Azattyk reported.

In Osh, hundreds of supporters of both sides threw stones and beat each other with sticks, the reports added.

Protestors loyal to Bakiyev on Thursday peacefully seized regional administration buildings in Osh, Jalalabad and the town of Batken. They also occupied the airports in Osh and Jalalabad.

The interim government, which took power after Bakiyev was ousted in an uprising last month, has so far avoided using security forces against protestors in a bid not to inflame tensions.

Omurbek Tekebayev, a leading member of the interim government, accused Bakiyev of being behind the unrest and said its organisers "wanted to ignite an inter-ethnic conflict in the country”.

"But they have not received the support of society," he added.

Bakiyev was ousted last month in protests that left at least 86 people dead and brought to power the interim government which has struggled to impose its authority on the country.

The latest events raise fears about the stability in the Central Asian country after the departure of Bakiyev, who drew the bulk of his support from the south of Kyrgyzstan.

The ousted leader has since taken refuge in Belarus.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned last month Kyrgyzstan risked civil war but the situation calmed with the departure of Bakiyev.

Bureau Report