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Kyrgyz President Blames Officials For Kurdish Unrest

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev is blaming local authorities for the mass arrests on April 26 in the town of Petrovka, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

After discussing the situation in Petrovka with Prosecutor-General Elmurza Satybaldiev and Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongantiev, Bakiev said the local government failed to react to the "horrendous crime" in a timely and proper fashion, which he says led to hundreds of people protesting and dozens being arrested.

He said the demonstrators were "deprived of justice" and are not guilty for what happened.

He said police who tried to cover up the crime are responsible for the problems.

Hundreds of people in Petrovka staged a protest on April 26 demanding that all ethnic Kurds leave the area because on April 6 it was alleged that a 22-year-old local Kurdish man raped a 4-year-old ethnic Russian girl.

Kyrgyz Interior Ministry spokesman Bakyt Seitov told RFE/RL that the suspect was detained on April 26 after the unrest.

There are more than 150 Kurdish families in Petrovka.

Bakiev sacked the local governor on April 27 in response to the turmoil.