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Is Bakiev Heading Home?


Can someone meet me at the airport?

Can someone meet me at the airport?

Kurmanbek Bakiev, the ousted president of Kyrgyzstan, could be returning to the conflict-torn Kyrgyz city of Osh – if rumors are to be believed.

Bakiev, who has been living in Belarus since fleeing the country in April, has not publicly mentioned any planned trip home, where he could face trial for alleged involvement in the killing of antigovernment protesters in Bishkek.

The rumors may be exaggerated, but two recent developments suggest that Bakiev might be willing to take the risk. After all, he has said he is still the legitimate president of the country.

A local official who asked not to be named told our correspondent today that Bakiev's return to the city is imminent.

Further fueling rumors, the ousted Kyrgyz leader abruptly canceled an interview he was scheduled to hold on June 22 in Minsk. Bakiev was due to meet with a small group of journalists, including a correspondent from RFE/RL's Belarus Service.

The head of Bakiev's security detail, a member of the Belarusian KGB, today told RFE/RL that the interview had been canceled because of "new circumstances."

He would not elaborate.

UPDATE: Rumors of Bakiev's departure now appear to be untrue. RFE/RL's Belarus Service is reporting that Bakiev's Minsk press conference will proceed on June 23.

-- Farangis Najibullah
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