Special operation against ousted Kyrgyz President: Report



Special operation against ousted Kyrgyz President: Report Teyyit: Kyrgyzstan's interim government said on Monday it was planning a special operation against ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who warned any attempt to seize him would result in bloodshed.

"Let them try to seize me. Let them try to kill me," Bakiyev told reporters after addressing a rally of supporters in his home village.

"I believe this will lead to such a great deal of bloodshed which no-one will be able to justify," Bakiyev said.

Bakiyev fled Bishkek to his stronghold in the south on April 7 after troops fired on protesters outside his offices, killing at least 81 people. The interim government says he must step down or possibly face arrest.

"We are preparing a special operation (against Bakiyev)," Almaz Atambayev, the first deputy leader of the interim government, told reporters in Bishkek.

"But he is hiding behind a human shield ... We hope we can carry it out without the deaths of civilians," Atambayev said. He refused to give any further details about the operation or to say when it would take place.

On Sunday the new government, led by Bakiyev's one-time allies, said it would not use force against Bakiyev but suggested it may act to arrest him and try him for the deaths in Bishkek.

Holed up in his home village of Teyyit outside the city of Jalalabad, Bakiyev said on Sunday that any attempt to kill him would "drown Kyrgyzstan in blood”.

Bakiyev's defiance has threatened to further destabilize the volatile Central Asian nation where the United States operates a key military air base supporting operations in nearby Afghanistan.

Bakiyev rally

A few thousand supporters gathered for the rally which Bakiyev addressed on Monday in his home village.

Speaking to reporters before the rally, Bakiyev said he had spoken to an envoy from the United Nations to ask for peacekeepers to be sent.

"I ... expressed a request for the United Nations to introduce its peacekeeping forces in the north of the republic to prevent any further escalation of the situation there," Bakiyev said outside a traditional felt tent, or yurt.

There was no heavy security presence in the village and the situation appeared calm, a report said. Groups of men helping arrange the rally sheltered from a cold rain in a large hut, eating spiced rice and meat and sipping steaming hot tea.

Unrest is no surprise for many Kyrgyz people, their memories still fresh of a revolt in 2005 which brought Bakiyev to power on promises to bring democracy and justice.

The self-proclaimed government has said Russia is its key ally and some leading ministers have said the US lease on its air base could be shortened, raising speculation Moscow could try to use the base as a lever in relations with Washington.

Bureau Report