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Kyrgyz Officials Recover Land From Squatters Near Bishkek


Squatters rally at the settlement of Nizhnyaya Alaarcha outside Bishkek on April 20.

Squatters rally at the settlement of Nizhnyaya Alaarcha outside Bishkek on April 20.

BISHKEK -- Land that was violently seized by squatters outside of Bishkek last month is being returned to its owners, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Officials at the Interior Ministry in the Chui region told RFE/RL that police and locals have gotten about 1,000 squatters who forcibly occupied land near the village of Maevka, a village outside the capital, to leave the area.

Police are investigating the illegal seizure of the real estate and have detained several organizers of the land grab.

The Bishkek mayor's office announced that none of the territory used by local farmers near Bishkek will be given to squatters to build houses.

The squatters began taking the land shortly after antigovernment protesters clashed with security forces in Bishkek on April 7.

Eventually, thousands of people had occupied land and established measured plots they said they would use to build homes.

Some landowners tried to defend their property, which led to clashes. Five people were killed and several injured and many village residents' houses and cars were set on fire.
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