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Turkmenistan: President Says He Knows Who Tried To Kill Him

Ashgabat, 25 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov survived an attempt on his life as he drove through the capital Ashgabat today. He was traveling from his residence outside Ashgabat to work when his motorcade came under attack in downtown Ashgabat. Reports from Russian and Western sources said someone in a truck fired automatic weapons at the motorcade as it approached. Niyazov was not injured but one person in Niyazov's motorcade and some bystanders were reportedly wounded.

Turkmen presidential spokesman Serdar Durdiev confirmed the attack and said some of the assailants were caught but others had escaped.

Later, at a session of the cabinet, Niyazov said the main organizer of the attack was former Deputy Agriculture Minister Sapar Iklymov. Niyazov said Iklymov was aided by former Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov, former Deputy Prime Minister Khudaiberdy Orazov, and former Turkmen Ambassador to Turkey Nurmukhammet Khanamov. All of those former officials have come out as opponents of the Turkmen regime and all are wanted in Turkmenistan on corruption charges.