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Kyrgyz Man Shot By U.S. Soldier Is Buried

(RFE/RL) December 8, 2006 -- Dozens of Bishkek residents today attended the funeral of Aleksandr Ivanov, the ethnic Russian Kyrgyz who was shot dead two days ago by a U.S. serviceman.

It was not immediately clear whether any U.S. official attended the funeral.

U.S. officials have repeatedly said that the American soldier involved shot Ivanov in self-defense. Kyrgyz officials have requested that his immunity be lifted to allow for a local investigation and possible trial.

Kyrgyzstan's AKIpress news agency quotes Ivanov's former co-workers as saying that U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and Colonel Joel Reese, the commander of the U.S. air base at Manas Airport, where the killing took place, visited Ivanov's family earlier today to offer their condolences.

A truck driver, Ivanov was reportedly shot twice in the chest while seeking permission to enter the U.S. facility, which the Pentagon rents from the Kyrgyz government to support operations in nearby Afghanistan.

Manas air base spokesman Major Donald Traud told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service today that the soldier was acting in self-defense.

"The driver went into a security tent to wait for his vehicle to be inspected. As the airman approached the tent, the driver physically threatened him with a knife which was discovered at the scene. The airman drew his 9mm weapon and fired in self-defense."

The U.S. military says it is working on the case in connection with Kyrgyz authorities.

Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov today said he handed Ambassador Yovanovitch a note demanding that local investigators be authorized to question the U.S. soldier and conduct a ballistics test.

(with additional reporting by AKIpress, Kabar, and AP)

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