05/18/2010, 00.00
KYRGYZSTAN
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Clashes, the provisional government in Bishkek resumes control of the south

Clashes on the streets leave at least two dead and dozens wounded. Risk of local revolts remains high, because the ruling coalition is unstable and in has little support many regions.

Bishkek (AsiaNews) - The interim government has taken control in the south of the country by force. Clashes on the streets have left at least 2 dead and 61 wounded, the situation remains tense.

The reaction of the government in Bishkek came less than 24 hours after former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's supporters occupied government buildings in three  regional capitals Osh, Jalalabad and Batken as well as the airports.

On the evening of May 13 in the streets of Osh, the largest southern city, the government deployed Interior Ministry security forces and army special forces to prevent further protests. After a night spent in a tense calm in the early morning fire fights erupted in Jalalabad between hundreds of supporters of two factions who used everything from Kalashnikovs to stone throwing. In the end there were, officially, 26 injured and severe damage to the regional government building, which was in the hands of Bakiyev followers.

In retaliation, the evening of May 14 a crowd of about 100 people set the five houses of relatives of Bakiyev on fire in the village of Tayit, in the region of Jalalabad.

Bishkek holds Bakiyev responsible for the protests and charges that he also gave money to residents in the capital to encourage more protests, saying that his supporters opened fire first "firing on the crowd." Azimbek Beknazarov, May 14 Attorney General, Azimbek Beknazarov ,announced the arrest of Usen Sydykov, a former aide to Bakiyev, and says that orders to those occupying government buildings in Osh and Jalalabad were sent from his mobile phone.

Experts believe that even if the interim government has regained control, it has yet  to prove its effective capacity to maintain control and run the country, because the heterogeneous coalition currently in power has little support in many provinces. There is still a high risk of an attempted Secession of the South, where Bakiyev still has strong support.
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