18 August 2000
CLASHES WITH REBELS IN SOUTHERN KYRGYZSTAN CONTINUE.
Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 18 August that the situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border is under control of government troops and they have surrounded a group of about 30 rebels. There were no casualties from the government side the previous day as well.
According to the press service for the Defense Ministry, clashes with the rebels take place now near the Rama and Boztuz passes close to the Toeroe pass. Some rebels are trying to break through either back to the Toeroe pass on Kyrgyz-Tajik border or to the Vorukh area, a pocket belonging to Tajikistan inside Kyrgyz territory. Kyrgyz forces surrounded the other three groups of rebels on the sites Kurbaka, Mazar and Karafin near the Temingen pass. Also, one rebel has been captured. He is an ethnic Bashkir and is from the Kurgan oblast of Russia.MORE MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS HAVE BEEN FREED.
Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakkov announced in Bishkek on 18 August that 4 American Mountain climbers were freed by Kyrgyz troops from rebel captivity. Januzakov told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek that day that the climbers had already been delivered unharmed to Batken town. According to him, the came to Kyrgyzstan on commercial contracts with tourist companies. According to Januzakov, there could be some other climbers left in rebel captivity.
Kyrgyz authorities announced on 15 August that government troops had freed 14 other foreign mountain climbers and 2 of their aides. All of them have already left Kyrgyzstan without coming to Bishkek. So, they did not meet journalists after their release.
RFE/RL correspondent met with some German mountain climbers in Batken and asked some questions before they left Kyrgyzstan for Uzbekistan. The meeting took place in the town of Batken on 17 August, just after they were questioned in the local branch of the Security Ministry, but the climbers answered questions with reluctance. They refused to give their names and said that they were hiding in the mountain camp. They heard firing somewhere far from their camp but were not taken hostage. However, if the Kyrgyz troops did not free them, the rebels could have captured them.CENTRAL ASIAN PRESIDENTS TO MEET IN BISHKEK ON SUNDAY.
Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 18 August that Secretary of the Russian Security Council Sergei Ivanov would participate in a meeting in Bishkek on Sunday, 20 August. Also, the Kazakh, Uzbek and Tajik presidents have agreed to come. The meeting is held at the request of President Askar Akayev.
President Akayev held a closed meeting of the Security Council on 18 August. Preparations for the Sunday summit were discussed.
The guests will discuss joint action against international terrorists in the framework of a n agreement signed in Tashkent last April. The guests are expected to arrive in Bishkek Sunday afternoon and meeting will last about 2 hours, from 17:00 till 19:00 local time.NO RELIABLE INFORMATION ON CASUALTIES.
There is still no reliable information on the total toll of Kyrgyz troops. According to the government, 25 servicemen have been killed since fighting began on 11 August. Seven servicemen were killed on 16 August. The independent Asaba weekly has published a list of 20 people killed during the first clashes on 11 August. Some authorities of the Batken Province told RFE/RL correspondent that some people, listed by Asaba could be alive.
Also, local authorities say that the rebels killed at least 5 Kyrgyz servicemen by stabbing. And Kyrgyz servicemen have no modern sniper rifles which the rebels have. According to local experts, it is worth mentioning that number of servicemen who have been killed is hire than the number wounded - very few people have been wounded.NO SIGN OF WAR IN BATKEN CENTER.
RFE/RL correspondent reports from the town of Batken, center of Batken Province, that there are no signs of disturbance among ordinary residents of the province. Local papers do not report on the rebel crisis because they do not have a permission from the authorities in Bishkek to do so. National television gives only the pro-government information. A lot of wedding and other parties are held daily in the town, usual for peace times. Governor of the province Mamat Aibalaev is somewhere out of the province on vacation. His deputy Yuruslan Toichubekov is engaged in his presidential campaign. The other deputy governor, Adylbek Kadyrbekov, was sacked a month ago.BORDER POSTS ON KYRGYZ-UZBEK FRONTIER ARE STRENGTHENED.
Authorities of the Jalal-Abad Province have begun to strengthen border posts along the Kyrgyz-Uzbek frontier. Spokesman Abdylda Karasartov told RFE/RL correspondent that Governor Kubanychbek JumAliyev allotted for it 700,000 soms (about $15,000). The five new posts would be constructed soon at the sites of Ala-Buka, Chatkal, Jiyde, Kosh-Dobe and Sumsar. They have information that some rebels could enter Kyrgyzstan from neighboring Uzbekistan in the Chatkal district.SUPREME COURT CHAIRMAN DISMISSED.
President Askar Akayev signed on 18 August a special decree dismissing Chairman of the Supreme Court Akynbek Tilebaliev. It is said in the decree that TilebAliyev was dismissed due to health reasons and according to his pwn request. The decision should be approved by the parliamentary People's Assembly.
The governmental KyrgyzTuusu paper wrote earlier this week that TilebAliyev had already resigned. The paper accused him of being involved in the Felix Kulov case. According to the paper, TilebAliyev influenced Judge Nurlan Ashymbekov to acquit Felix Kulov last week, because TilebAliyev and Ashymbekov are relatives. Also, the paper wrote that TilebAliyev has a problem with alcohol.MORE AND MORE KYRGYZ SERVICEMEN KILLED.
Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov announced in Bishkek on 17 August that 7 more Kyrgyz servicemen were killed in the clashes with rebels along the border with Tajikistan the previous day. There have been no casualties during the night of 16 August and on 17 August. He said that 18 servicemen had been killed and 2 more were missing to date.
Clashes are taking place near the Ak-Tubek glacier close to the Toeroe pass on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The rebels fired at a Kyrgyz military helicopter near the glacier on 16 August from a grenadier and it was burnt partly. However, the helicopter made an urgent landing among mountains.
Also the bodies of the two rebels who were killed have been delivered to Batken. Kyrgyz troops also found a video camera and video cassettes, belonging to the rebels. There are records of their celebration upon their arrival to Kyrgyzstan several days ago.
According to the administration of Samarkandek village in Batken district, 89 inhabitants of the village are now trapped at the mountainous Kere-Beshim pasture and there has been no communication with them since 11 August.
During last year's rebel crisis, 27 Kyrgyz citizens died from 22 August till 25 October and only about 20 of them were killed in clashes with the rebels. 3 Kyrgyz citizens (a woman with a 5-year-old daughter and a policemen) were killed during the mistaken bombardment by Uzbek warplanes on 29 August 1999, one hostage was killed by the rebels in captivity, and some other servicemen died in different accidents.FUNERAL MEETINGS IN DIFFERENT KYRGYZ TOWNS.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Alimuhamed Suimenaliev, deputy commissar of the Jalal-Abad Province, three residents of the province have died in Batken since 11 August. Two of them, Major Sainar Mamatakunov and Sergeant Mederbek Baltabaev, were killed on 15 August.
According to unofficial sources in the Chu Province administration, 13 residents of the province have been killed in Batken, and body of one of them, Turatbek Osmonov, killed on 11 August, will be buried in the Village of Tuz on 18 August.
Relatives of Urmat Turdubekov, Usenaly Esenbekov and Tugelbai Bukarbaev, who were killed, are preparing to bury them in the Issyk-Kul Province.FREED MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS LEAVE KYRGYZSTAN.
Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov announced in Bishkek on 17 August that the mountain climbers who were freed left Batken for Tashkent on 17 August, because they came for mountaineering to Kyrgyzstan from Uzbekistan. Kyrgyz government troops freed 12 foreign mountain climbers and 2 their aides on 15 August. Some of them were in rebel captivity near the Piramida Peak on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border since 11 August. 6 of them are Germans, 3 Russians, 2 Uzbeks and one Ukrainian.CENTRAL ASIAN LEADERS TO MEET IN BISHKEK.
According to the presidential administration, leaders of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are planning to meet in Bishkek on Sunday to discuss current problems caused by the rebel incursion. Presidents Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan and Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan will not go to the CIS summit meeting in Yalta, to begin on 18 August, due to the rebel crisis.MEETINGS AT PARLIAMENT ON REBEL CRISIS.
Speaker of the parliamentary Legislative Assembly Abdygany Erkebaev held a meeting in Bishkek on 16 August on the situation in the southern regions. Representatives of the defense and security ministries reported to the meeting. A similar meeting between parliamentarians and security experts was held today at the parliamentary People's Assembly by its speaker Altai Borubaev.JOURNALIST HOSPITALIZED AFTER INTERROGATION AT SECURITY MINISTRY.
Deputy chief editor of the independent Delo Nomer weekly Svetlana Krasilnikova was hospitalized in Bishkek on 17 August in a pre-stroke condition. She was interrogated by an investigator of the Security Ministry Melis Abdykalykov on 16 August for 8 consecutive hours. According to chief editor Viktor Zapolsky, he and correspondent Vadim Nochevkin were also interrogated the same day for about 5 hours each.
A criminal case against the paper was opened early in August, and it is accused of divulgence of state secrets covering the trial against Felix Kulov. The closed trial was held at the Bishkek City military court and Kulov was acquitted on 7 August, but the suit against the paper has not been closed.ROUND TABLE WITH OPPOSITION POSTPONED.
Arslan Anarbaev of the presidential administration announced in Bishkek on 7 August1that a round table discussion between government and opposition, planned to be held on 26 August, is postponed till September due to the rebel crisis.COMMUNIST PARTY TO SUE THE LINGUISTIC COMMISSION.
Chairwoman of the Communist Party Klara Ajybekova told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 17 August that her party would sue the Linguistic Commission, which failed Anarbek Usupbaev in the examination on the Kyrgyz language on 16 August. According to her, presidential candidate from the party Usupbaev speaks good Kyrgyz, but commission members asked him very special linguistic questions. Presential candidates must pass an examination on the state language in Kyrgyzstan.US CONGRESS DELEGATION TO KYRGYZSTAN.
According to the presidential press service, a delegation of US Congress led by Bill Archer will arrive in Kyrgyzstan on 20 August. They will meet President Askar Akayev, other high officials of the country and discuss aspects of economical reforms in Kyrgyzstan.NEW CLASHES ALONG THE KYRGYZ-TAJIK BORDER.
New clashes between government troops and rebels began along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border the morning of 16 August. Clashes again took place in the Toeroe pass. Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov announced in Bishkek on 16 August that new groups of about 40 to 50 rebels attacked Kyrgyz border posts at about 03:30 local time the same morning. Clashes are taking place, but there are no reports on new casualties.
The Kyrgyz leadership stated during the night of 15 August that government troops had forced out all the rebels from Kyrgyz territory to neighboring Tajikistan and tha military operation against the rebels were completed in general.
Januzakov accused the Tajik government for neither preventing the rebels from entering into Kyrgyzstan nor allowing Kyrgyz and Uzbek forces to eliminate rebel bases on Tajik territory. According to Janizakov, representatives of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan agreed in Batken last Saturday on joint action against the rebels. Now, a number of Tajik ministers are on vacation and it is difficult to cooperate with them. Januzakov also said that warlord Juma Namangani is now in Tajikistan holding meetings with his field commanders, and 700 to 800 rebels are gathered in the Gharm, Tavildara and Jergetal regions of Tajikistan.
Member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, representing himself as Abdil Momin, said in a phone interview to RFE/RL on 16 August that only one of their fighters has been killed since 11 August and 2 more wounded. According to him, the fighters did not enter Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan.PRESIDENT AKAYEV APPEALS TO THE NATION.
President Askar Akayev appealed to the nation on 16 August via National Television. He asked people to remain calm, because government troops are doing their best to eliminate the bandits. According to him, 18 Kyrgyz servicemen have been killed since 11 August.
He also said that about 150 rebels are gathered now close to the Kyrgyz-Tajik border on the Tajik side and 700 to 800 more rebels are on bases in Tajikistan, preparing a new attack on Kygryzstan.
Akayev also said that government troops freed yesterday 12 mountain climbers on 15 August as well as 2 interpreters from rebel captivity.AKAYEV WILL NOT ATTEND YALTA SUMMIT.
The presidential press service announced in Bishkek on 16 August that President Askar Akayev has decided not to go to Yalta for the CIS Summit to be held on 18-19 August. This decision was made because of the renewal of rebel attacks on Kyrgyzstan.FOURTEEN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN RESCUED IN MOUNTAINS.
Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov announced in Bishkek on 16 August that Kyrgyz troops had freed 12 foreign mountain climbers and 2 of their aides from rebel captivity.
However, spokesman for the southern group of military forces of Kyrgyzstan, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Bekboev told RFE/RL correspondent in Batken on 16 August that Kyrgyz troops rescued 12 mountain climbers the previous day. They were at the Mazar mountaineering camp near the Piramida Peak. The same day, they were delivered safe and sound to the town of Batken and are expected to arrive shortly in Bishkek.
Six of the mountain climbers are Germans, 3 Russians, 2 Uzbeks and one Ukrainian. The Piramida Peak is 5,509 meters high and is situated on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.CONFLICTING REPORTS ON CASUALTIES.
There are still conflicting reports on casualties. According to Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov, 18 Kyrgyz servicemen have been killed since 11 August and 2 more are missing.
Local authorities of Batken Province told RFE/RL correspondent in Batken on 16 August that 26 servicemen had been either killed or were missing. The six servicemen who were killed were buried on August 16. Also, the head physician of the Batken town hospital has been sacked.
On 15 August the newspaper Asaba published a list of 20 the servicemen who were killed on 11 August during the first clash with rebels in the Toeroe pass. The editorial board of the paper told RFE/RL correspondents on 16 August this information was received ifrom a colonel of the Defense Ministry. Member of Parliament Tashbolot Baltabaev (elected from Batken Province) told RFE/RL correspondent that the Asaba list is incorrect, but he could not give a correct list.SUPREME COURT CHAIRMAN TO SUE A GOVERNMENT PAPER.
Chairman of the Supreme Court Akynbek TilebAliyev told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 16 August that he had not yet resigned. The governmental Kyrgyz Tuusu nwspaper wrote that TilebAliyev resigned due to the Felix Kulov case. According to the paper, TilebAliyev influenced Judge Nurlan Ashymbekov to acquit Felix Kulov last week, because TilebAliyev and Ahymbekov are relatives.
TilebAliyev says that Judge Ashymbekov an imade independent decision in accordance with law. Also, TilebAliyev intends to sue the Kyrgyz Tuusu daily.SECOND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FAILS IN LANGUAGE EXAM.
On 16 August, the linguistic commission of the Central Election Commission failed presidential candidate Anarbek Usupbaev in the Kyrgyz language examination. Usupbaev was nominated by the Communist Party. The other communist nominee, Iskhak MasAliyev of the Communist Party did not pass the linguistic exam on 15 August. Iskhakov says he has appealed the commission decision.COMMERCIAL BANK LEADERS AGAINST NATIONAL BANK.
Leaders of 4 commercial banks held a news conference in Bishkek on 16 August, condemning a decision by the National Bank that was taken last May, that the minimal capital of any commercial bank should be not less than $1 million by 31 August. Otherwise the banks would be merged.
Gamal Saadanbekov of the Insan Bank, Jenishbek Baigutiev of the Tolubai Bank, Akylbek Jumabaev of the Avtobank and Bolot Baikojoev of the YIssyk-Kul Investment bank say that the decision restricts the development of independent banks in the country and that they have already appealed to the Court of Arbitration.DEMONSTRATION OF BUSINESSMEN IN NARYN.
About 40 local business persons held a protest picket in the town of Naryn on 16 August. The local administration has decided to eliminate the Bereke bazaar in the center of the town and has demanded that the businessmen move to another place. After meeting with Governor Askar Salymbekov, it was decided to hold further negotiations on the issue.NEW MINING ENTERPRISE PUT INTO OPERATION.
The new mining enterprise Ak-Tuez was put into operation in the town of Ak-Tuez of the Kemin district on 16 August. The enterprise could process about 400 tons of ore daily and create 500 new jobs. The enterprise functioned during Soviet times but was bankrupt in 1995. In 1998 it was bought by an Israeli company, which has invested $2 million in it since 1998.REGIONAL MEETING ON MIGRATION ISSUES.
A meeting of migration bodies of the Central Asian states began on 16 August in the resort town of Chopon-Ata. The meeting will last 2 days, and problems of demography and migration in Central Asia as well as cooperation between the bodies of the neighboring states are being discussed.GOVERNMENT CLAIMS ALL THE REBELS FORCED OUT OF KYRGYZSTAN.
In the afternoon of 15 August, the presidential press service disseminated an urgent press release saying that government troops have forced out all the rebels from Kyrgyz territory to neighboring Tajikistan. Most of the rebels have been killed, and one of them has been captured. Also, a lot of rifles and ammunition have been seized. So, military operations against the rebels have been completed in general.FUNERALS IN DIFFERENT KYRGYZ TOWNS.
Funerals were held in different Kyrgyz towns onb 15 August. Bodies of the 8 servicemen who were killed were given to their relatives in Bishkek the previous day. Bolot Januzakov attended the yesterday funeral.
Authorities of the Issyk-Kul Province held a funeral. Relatives of Almabekov, Duishebaev, Kushubekov, Raiymbekov and Seksenbaev received 10,000-som (about $215) help each from the authorities. The body of Seksenbaev will be delivered to Issyk-Kul on 16 August. Raiymbekov came from the town of Balykchy, not from Min-Kush of Naryn Province as the Asaba wrote.
The funeral of Dobulbekov was held in Jalal-Abad, and Vladimir Nikitushkin was buried in the village of Novo-Pokrovka of the Chu Province. His relatives received 5,000 soms from the authorities and 11,000 soms from the Koi-Tash military base.
The funerals of Major Subanbekov and Private Kulmanbetov were held in Talas. The body of Moldosanov has not been delivered to Talas yet.JUMA NAMANGANI TO COME TO KARATEGIN, TAJIKISTAN.
The independent Aalam weekly carries in its August 16 issue an article about warlord Juma Namangani. According to the paper, Namangani is expected to come to the Karategin area of Tajikistan and he wants to hold a meeting with his field commanders either on 16 August or 18 August.
The paper also writes that four Kyrgyz servicemen have been captured by the rebels and they are held in the Khait site in Tajikistan now.UZBEKISTAN RECALLS ITS AMBASSADOR FROM TAJIKISTAN.
Kyrgyz Ambassador in Dushanbe Erik AsanAliyev told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 15 August that Tashkent recalled its ambassador in Dushanbe due to a rebel invasion of Uzbekistan from Tajik territory.EIGHT PEOPLE ARRESTED IN JALAL-ABAD.
The Ministry of National Security announced in Bishkek on 15 August that 8 people have been detained in the Jalal-Abad Province in the last 7 days. They are ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks who were disseminating leaflets of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. About 1,000 leaflets and other Wahhabi literature have been seized with them.AIDE TO KULOV RELEASED.
Emil Aliev, aide to Felix Kulov, was released in Bishkek the night of 14 August due to health reasons. He was the head of Kulov's election campaign team and was arrested in Bishkek on 9 March, just 3 days before the parliamentary runoff elections. This was serious damage to Kulov's campaign. Kulov, who collected most of votes in the first round on 20 February, was announced lost in the runoff on 12 March.
Aliyev was accused of misappropriation of $219,400 in 1994 when he did business in neighboring Tajikistan. Kulov himself was arrested on 22 March and acquitted by the Bishkek military court on 7 August, spending 138 days in custody. According to local experts, the acquittal of Kulov had an impact on the release of Aliev.FIRST PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FAILS IN LANGUAGE EXAM.
The linguistic commission of the Central Election Commission failed on 15 August presidential candidate Iskhak MasAliyev in the Kyrgyz language examination. MasAliyev was nominated by the Communist Party. He is the head of the Osh Province communist organization and Member of Parliament. 5 other candidates passed exams before. MasAliyev told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek that he would appeal decision.
Member of Parliament Ishenbai Kadyrbekov announced on 15 August that he would run for the presidency. There are now 17 people who claim their bid for the presidential office.NEW NGO ASSOCIATION TO PREPARE ITS OWN OBSERVERS.
Chairwoman of the Association of Non-Governmental Organizations Toktaiym Umetalieva announced in Bishkek on 15 August that the Association would prepare about 4,000 observers for the forthcoming presidential elections. The association was set up recently as an alternative to the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organization. About 2,000 observers of the Coalition monitored the last parliamentary elections in February-March and criticized the government severely for shortcomings. The presidential elections are set for 29 October.TWENTY-TWO KYRGYZ SERVICEMEN HAVE BEEN KILLED.
High official of the Security Ministry Colonel Talant Razzakov told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 14 August that by that date 22 Kyrgyz servicemen had been killed in clashes with the rebels since they invaded of Kyrgyzstan Friday morning. Among those killed are members of the special squad "Scorpio" of the Defense Ministry.
The bodies of 8 of the servicemen were given to their relatives at the Koi-Tash military base near Bishkek on 14 August. Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov attended the funeral. The killed servicemen were sent to southern Kyrgyzstan from Koi-Tash.
Presidential press secretary Osmonakun Ibraimov announced in Bishkek on 14 August that about 10 Kyrgyz servicemen and more than 30 rebels had been killed. According to Ibraimov, Secretary General of the CIS Council on Collective Defense Valery Nikolaenko, arrived in Bishkek last Friaday, is still in Kyrgyzstan. He met on 14 August with President Askar Akayev and discussed the situation in the south.KYRGYZSTAN CONDUCTS MISSILE ATTACK AGAINST REBELS.
Minister of National Security Tashtemir Aitbaev told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 14 August that Kyrgyz government forces conducted a missile attack against rebel bases along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border the morning of 14 August. It is not clear what damage was done to the rebels.
Clashes with the rebels were reported to be taking place on 14 August around the Ak-Jibek pass near the Toeroe pass, where the rebels appeared in the morning of Friday for the first time. The Ak-Jibek pass is about 8 kms from the state border, inside Kyrgyz territory. The altitude of both passes is higher than 4,000 meters.JUMA NAMANGANI COULD LEAD THE REBEL ATTACK HIMSELF.
According to unconfirmed reports from sources in the Kyrgyz Security Ministry, prominent warlord Juma Namangani could lead the rebel attacks in an effort to break through Kyrgyzstan to the Ferghana Valley. The sources say Namangani is expected to come to the Karategin area of Tajikistan on 15-16 August to hold a meeting with the field commanders of the rebels.FELIX KULOV WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENCY.
Leader of the opposition Ar-Namys Party Felix Kulov held a news conference in Bishkek on 14 August. He announced that he would take part in the presidential election set for 29 October. He also said that he would pass an exam on the Kyrgyz language to become a candidate but is doubtful that the election itself would be fair. According to Kulov, he plans to go to Moscow to hold unofficial consultations with Russian leaders on the election.
Kulov said he thought after his release that a decision to acquit him was taken by President Askar Akayev, but he now thinks that it was a decision by Judge Nurlan Ashymbekov. The trial against him lasted from 27 June till 31 July.
Kulov was arrested on 22 March and released on 7 August after the Bishkek City military court acquitted him surprisingly. He was vice president of Kyrgyzstan in 1992-1993, governor of the Chu Province in 1993-1997, minister of national security in 1997-1998 and mayor of Bishkek in 1998-1999.PROSECUTORS HAVE APPEALED KULOV VERDICT.
Minister of National Security Tashtemir Aitbaev told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 14 August that the decision to acquit Kulov was unfair, because the judge did not take into consideration the facts on Kulov's guilt proven by ministry investigators. According to Aitbaev, the prosecutors have already appealed the ruling. Kulov was accused of power abuse while being minister of security in 1997-1998.