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Kyrgyz Deputy Held By Rioting Prisoners

20 October 2005 -- Kyrgyz officials say a member of Kyrgyzstan's parliament is being held hostage by rioting inmates at a prison.

The Interior Ministry's press service says it has information that Tynychbek Akmatbaev was taken hostage at the Moldovanovka prison near the capital Bishkek. Reports say two of his bodyguards were injured in the hostage taking, in which gunfire was heard and conflicting reports of casualties have emerged.

RFE/RL's correspondent on the scene reports that Prime Minister Feliks Kulov and the country's acting prosecutor general have arrived at the prison.

Casualties occurred yesterday at the Novo Pokrovka prison, also near Bishkek, when inmates turned violent.

The riots are part of a series of protests at Kyrgyz jail facilities since March's ouster of President Askar Akaev. Inmates are demanding better living conditions.

(with additional reporting by ITAR-TASS/AFP/AP/Reuters)