Clashes in Kyrgyzstan kill 1, injure more than 30

Hundreds of interim govt backers fought supporters of deposed Prez Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Updated: May 14, 2010, 20:29 PM IST

Jalal-Abad: Gunfire erupted in Kyrgyzstan on Friday as hundreds of interim government backers fought supporters of deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev for control over regional government buildings, killing at least one and injuring more than 30 people in the worst violence since last month`s forceful government change.
The opponents exchanged gunshots, hurled stones and
fought with sticks on a square in front of the regional
government building in Jalal-Abad.

Several hundred Bakiyev supporters, some with
automatic rifles, holed up in the building overnight after
capturing it yesterday evening, but backers of the interim
government drove them out today after hours of tense

Earlier in the day, the interim government`s backers
also ejected a pro-Bakiyev crowd that had occupied the
regional government offices in Osh, about 70 kilometers from
Jalal-Abad. The two parties threw rock at one another, but
there were no serious injuries there.

Both cities are in Kyrgyzstan`s south, the power base
for Bakiyev, who was ousted April 7 amid clashes in the
capital between government forces and protesters that left at
least 85 people dead.

The prospect of further disturbances in the Central
Asian nation will cause alarm in Washington and Moscow, which
both have military bases in Kyrgyzstan.

The US Embassy in Bishkek voiced concern about the
violence and urged parties to refrain from violence.

In Jalal-Abad, about 4,000 backers of the Ata-Meken
party that supports the interim government arrived early on Friday
to try to evict the occupiers, but many dispersed when gunfire
broke out, leaving a crowd of several hundred.

Some men in the approaching mob returned fire, while
others fought with sticks. At least 1 person was killed and
another 37 people hospitalised with injuries incurred in the
clash, including five in critical condition, the Health
Ministry said.

During a second major wave of the gunfire exchange in
the afternoon, an Associated Press reporter saw one man hit by
a bullet in the shoulder.

While the provisional authorities are struggling to
restore control over the entire country, the overwhelming
number of interim government backers in today`s clashes
indicate they enjoy considerable popular support.