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Prominent Kyrgyz Imam Killed In Security Raid

Rafiq Qori Kamoluddin in May (RFE/RL) OSH, August 7, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz security forces say they have killed a prominent ethnic Uzbek imam suspected of belonging to a banned extremist religious group in southern Kyrgyzstan.

National Security Service spokesman Nurbek Tokbaev told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that Muhammadrafiq Kamoluddin (also known as Rafiq Qori Kamalov), the imam of the largest mosque in the southern city of Kara-Suu, was killed on August 6 during a security raid in nearby Osh.

Tokbaev described Kamalov as a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and said another two alleged IMU members were killed during the security raid, which was conducted in conjunction with Uzbek security forces.

Tokbaev said the joint raid was aimed at securing the arrest of Islamic militants involved in a May border incident that claimed several lives in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. He said the three men killed were planning terrorist attacks
in Kyrgyzstan.

"When they
searched their car, [security forces] found one AK- SU Kalashnikov automatic
rifle, three full magazines, 266 cartridges, 4 RGD-5 hand grenades, one F-1
grenade, one RPK automatic rifle magazine, a road map of Uzbekistan where a
number of locations were marked with the word 'jihad,' one pair of army
binoculars, extremist religious literature in the Kyrgyz and Uzbek languages,
and fake passports," Tokbaev said.

Kamoluddin was known for allowing members of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir radical religious grouping to pray at his mosque. Yet, he was critical of the group, which seeks to establish a caliphate in Central Asia.

Kyrgyz security officers in May detained and questioned Kamoluddin about his alleged links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, though no mention was made of ties to the IMU.

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