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Tensions On Rise As Kyrgyz Politician Claims State Security Attacked Him

  • RFE/RL

Ata-Jurt Party leader Kamchybek Tashiev: "It's evident that they wanted to kidnap me or kill me."

Ata-Jurt Party leader Kamchybek Tashiev: "It's evident that they wanted to kidnap me or kill me."

Hundreds of supporters of nationalist Kyrgyz politician Kamchybek Tashiev staged a rally outside the parliament building in the capital, Bishkek, on October 24 after Tashiev claimed to have been targeted for potential kidnapping or assassination.

Tashiev, who heads the Ata-Jurt party which led in elections this month, said on October 23 that armed men had broken into his house on the outskirts of Bishkek before his bodyguards intervened.

"First of all, I see this as connected to my political activities," Tashiev said. "Secondly, it's evident that they wanted to kidnap me, or kill me, because they deliberately shot two or three times in my direction."

Tashiev said his guards seized pistols from the men, as well as a card identifying one of the men as a member of Kyrgyzstan's state national security service, or GSNB.

Police have confirmed an incident took place, but a GSNB spokesman has denied the security police played any role in an attack.

'Different Issue'

Speaking to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Military Prosecutor Aibek Turganbaev confimed that members of the state security service had been at Tashiev's house at the time of the alleged attack, but said they were there for a "different issue."

"There is various incorrect information circulating at the moment about a number of nonmilitary personnel and other employees having been [at Tashiev's house]," Turganbaev said. "I must tell you there were not many [special forces] employees there. Only four or five from the GSNB were working there. According to our information, they were conducting an operation related to a different issue; it wasn't related to Tashiev."

Turganbaev said he has ordered the GSNB to conduct a special investigation into the incident.

The allegations come at a time of high political tension in the country, as Ata-Jurt and other parties try to broker a coalition following October 10 elections designed to transform Kyrgyzstan into Central Asia's first parliamentary democracy.

Fractious Coalition-Building

The election was called by an interim government led by opposition leader Roza Otunbaeva after the springtime ouster of sitting President Kurmanbek Bakiev and ethnic clashes that left some 400 people dead in the country's south.

Former President Kurmanbek Bakiev
The election was judged free and fair. But the process of coalition-building has been fractious, with Ata-Jurt likely to be destined for an opposition slot in parliament, despite being the overall winner.

Instead, it is likely to be the party with the second-highest vote count, the Social Democrats, that will form a ruling coalition with the Ata-Meken party and a third party, Respublika. Members of the Social Democrats and Ata-Meken were among the architects of a new constitution that helped create the parliamentary system of government in Kyrgyzstan.

No prime minister can be appointed until coalition talks are settled, leaving the country's leadership at an impasse.

Quashing Hopes

Tashiev -- who is believed to be loyal to Bakiev -- has dismissed the parliamentary system as inappropriate for Kyrgyzstan. Ata-Jurt is seen as attempting to put the brakes on coalition talks by supporting calls for a recount by a smaller party, United Kyrgyzstan, that came in just under the 5-percent threshold.

Such a recount would be time-consuming and could deeply frustrate an already restive Kyrgyz public, quashing hopes for a quick resolution to Kyrgyzstan's latest political crisis.

Another party backing the calls for a recount is Ar-Namys, led by former Prime Minister Feliks Kulov, who is seen as having close ties to Russia. Kulov described the alleged attack on Tashiev as an attempt to unseat the popular favorite.

"We believe this is an ugly provocation aimed at the leader of the winning party," Kulov said. "The head of the state national security service, Keneshbek Duishebaev, should resign immediately."

Tashiev said on October 23 that the friction between him and the powerful Duishebaev goes back to the deadly clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in the country's south in June. Duishebaev has claimed that relatives and supporters of ousted leader Bakiev conspired with Islamic militants in order to destabilize southern Kyrgyzstan.

The pro-Tashiev demonstration on October 24 ended peacefully, although protesters said they planned to return on October 25.

written by Daisy Sindelar, with contributions from RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service and agency reports

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