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Kyrgyz Report: September 21, 1999

21 September 1999

The Defense Ministry announced in Bishkek on 21 September that there were clashes between government troops and rebels near the village of Gaz in Batken district the previous afternoon. About 100-150 rebels attacked governmental positions and then retreated after the clashes. According to the ministry, the rebels tried to break through to the village of Sogment, just on the border with Uzbek Soh region.

According to the Defense Ministry, a truck with soldiers was blown up by a mine on the evening of 20 September, when the truck was returning from Caz to Batken. Four soldiers were killed and five more wounded. Some other witnesses say the truck was not blown up but it was fired upon from a grenade launcher.

Local residents say they want to form a volunteer corps and demand to be armed but neither local nor Bishkek authorities will allow it. According to officials of the neighboring Chong-Alai district, it has been relatively calm in the district for last 24 hours.

According to the Defense Ministry, there are now 4,076 refugees in Batken and 1,434 refugees in the neighboring Kadmajai district. The Ministry of Emergencies is providing them with food, clothes and tents. The Doctors without Frontiers international organization has sent them medicine recently.

According to the parliamentary press service, parliament deputy Tursunbai Bakir Uulu departed for Saudi Arabia in the morning of 21 September. Bakir Uulu is the chairman of the governmental commission on human rights. According to unconfirmed unofficial reports, Bakir Uulu will try to meet with people who might be behind the rebels in Kyrgyzstan.

Tursunbek Akunov, Chairman of the independent Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan, served as a voluntary mediator between the Kyrgyz government and the rebels but his mission has been interrupted by the last clashes.

The governmental Kabar news agency announced in Bishkek on 20 September that President Askar Akaev plans to take part in two congresses to be held in Bishkek this week: the second congress of CIS cardiologists on 22 September and the fifth congress of Kyrgyz pediatricians on 25 September.

The presidential press service announced on 17 September that Akayev had cancelled his planned trip to Batken due to recent developments in the region.

Chairman of the CIS Association of cardiologists is Kyrgyz academician Mirsaid Mirrahimov. The headquarters of the association is situated in Bishkek and its first congress was held there.

According to the governmental press service, Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev held a government meeting in Bishkek on 21 September on the grain stocks of the country. Director of the National Fund of Reserves, Avazbek Gapyrov, told the meeting there are only 1,890 tons of grain in reseve. According to rules, there should be at least 130,000 tons of grain in the national reserves. It was decided at the meeting that 30,000 tons of the 70,000 tons of grain to be received from the US in 1999 as humanitarian aid, would be stored in the reserves.

The acting deputy chief editor of the "Vecherni Bishkek" daily Sergei Stepanov announced in Bishkek on 21 September that chief editor Alexander Kim has resigned. A general meeting of share holders of the paper will be held in Bishkek on 4 October and, according to Stepanov, all the personal issues will be resolved.

Kim is the owner of the daily and is accused by the Tax Inspection of tax evasion.When the inspectors came to the editorial board on 24 August, he did not allow them to inspect the paper�s financial documents. The same day, Executive editor Vladimir Kozlinsky and columnist Kabai Karabekov held a news conference in Bishkek announcing that Alexander Kim had been arrested. Later on the same day, Kim himself disproved it. But he failed to come to the Tax Inspection the next day, having been hospitalized. Later, Kozlinsky, Karabekov and several other journalists announced their resignation but now, they could return.

According to Stepanov, the Tax Inspestion is now studying the financial documents of the paper. Also, the Inspection accuses the paper of buying the building for the editorial board for an undisclosed price and has sued the paper already. Stepanov says if the trial is fair the paper will win.

According to the parliamentary press service, a parliamentary delegation, led by Speaker Abdygany Erkebayev will pay a three-day visit to Hungary beginning on 22 September. They will be received by President Arpad Gonz of Hungary and other high officials. The delegation had planned to visit the Czech Republic too, but their plans have been changed and they will leave Hungary for Kyrgyzstan.

The parliamentary Legislative Assembly could not discuss on 20 September a law draft on pension guarantees prepared by MP Adaham Madumarov, because Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev did not come to the session. According to the governmental press service, MurAliyev was occupied with the hostage crisis.

Chairwoman of the National Social Fund Roza Aknazarova told the session on 20 September that the government has its own law draft on the reform of the pension system and if the governmental version is not passed in the parliament, Kyrgyzstan would not receive a new 18-million-dollar loan from the international financing organizations.

According to the Interior Ministry, an Iranian citizen was detained in the city of Osh on 17 September. His name is Majit Halili and he is vice president of a local Kyrgyz-Iranian joint-venture. Weapons and 200 grams of opium were seized in his Mercedes. The same day, a large number of weapons were seized in the town of Naryn, center of the Naryn region.

A founding conference of the Party of Republicans was held in Bishkek on 18 September. About 100 deputies from around the country took part. Chief editor of the opposition "Res Publica" weekly Zamira Sydykova was elected chairwoman of the new party at the meeting. Other journalists, Narkaz Mulladjanov and Ilyas Tokombaev were elected to the executive committee of the party. Also, leaders of the Ary society, Sadyrbek Nazarov. and chairman of the society of small depositors, Jolbors Mirzapayazov joined the executive committee.

Parliament deputy Omurbek Tekebaev, Chairman of the Ata-Meken party, attended the conference and also announced his party may form a new political bloc with the Republicans.