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Kyrgyz Authorities Say Prisons Now Under Control

Rioting at a prison near Bishkek (file photo) (AFP) Bishkek, 2 November 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz authorities say they have reestablished control over some six prisons shaken by unrest yesterday.

Law enforcement officers fought with rioting inmates in several of the prisons. Authorities say four inmates were killed in the violence, while other reports say about 20 of them died.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Justice Minster Marat Kaiypov said the situation is now under control. But he said hunger strikes are under way in two prisons near Bishkek.

"[Inmates] went on hunger strike in Prison No. 1, but not all of them," he said. "The same at Prison No. 27 -- not all of them [went on hunger strike]. Besides that, some detainees held at pretrial detention centers either for investigation or awaiting trial are also on hunger strike."

Earlier today, President Kurmanbek Bakiev defended the use of force in the prison riots and warned he will not hesitate to use force against those using force themselves. He insisted that inmates started shooting first.

Yesterday's rioting was reportedly sparked by the attempted removal of around 20 inmates from Prison No. 31 near Bishkek.

Lawmaker Tynychbek Akmatbaev and two other officials were killed in Prison No. 31 during a hostage crisis on October

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, AFP)

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