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Kyrgyz Report: July 6, 1999

6 July 1999

Kyrgyz Security Ministry senior official Talant Razzakov told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 6 August that Kyrgyz security forces have surrounded a group of 21 guerrillas near the village of Zardaly in Batken district of Osh region in southern Kyrgyzstan. According to Razzakov, Deputy Security Minister Valerii Verchagin and First Deputy Head of the Military Staff M. Jumagulov are on the scene to oversee the situation. Deputy Interior Minister Kalmurat Sadiev arrived in the district two days ago. The Defence Ministry's Scorpio special squad was sent to the village from Bishkek on 6 August. Negotiations with the guerrilla leaders are being held to evict them from Kyrgyz territory peacefully. The guerrillas deny they plan to harm anybody in Kyrgyzstan. According to Razzakov, the guerrillas are part of the religious extremist forces of Jumabai Namangani, a field commander based in Tajikistan. Namangani is an ethnic Uzbek fighting against the regime of President Islam Karimov. His forces may have come to Tajikistan to avoid being constrained to surrender their weapons as part of the ongoing Tajik peace process. Osh Oblast Deputy Governor Adam Zakirov told RFE/RL's Bishkek correspondent by phone on 6 August that the first guerrillas arrived in the village from the Badakhshan region of Tajikistan on 31 July. According to him, some Tajik guerrillas had visited the district from time to time earlier to buy food.

Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev announced in Bishkek on 6 August that the Intergas private firm of Kazakhstan could stop transportation of natural gas from Uzbekistan soon. According to Muraliev, the Kyrgyz government had received a warning note from Intergas recently. MurAliyev said it was a surprising action, because the Kyrgyz and Kazakh government delegations agreed in Almaty last month that there would not be any gas problems between the two countries. Kazakhstan owes Kyrgyzstan about $22 million for electricity supplies and Kyrgyzstan owes the Intergas about $2 million for its service in 1997. Kyrgyzstan imports natural gas from Uzbekistan via Kazakh territory, but has not received gas since February due to its debt of about $3 million to Uzbekistan. Current gas supplies are conducted according to a special agreement on the joint use of hydro-electric power stations in Central Asia. This gas is sent to the Bishkek power and heating station only, and Kyrgyz government distributes it among people. Kyrgyzstan is holding negotiations with the Khimmontazh joint-stock company of Kazakhstan. According to a preliminary agreement, Khimmontazh will sell gas for $40 per 1,000 cubic meters but could deliver to Kyrgyzstan about 130 million cubic meters in total, it will cover three month needs of the country. Kyrgyzstan buys gas from Uzbekistan for $55 per 1,000 cubic meters and Uzbekistan sells gas to the Khimmontazh for about $35 per 1,000 cubic meters.

The grain harvest is underway, and wheat prices in the various regions of the country are as follows: 3.5 to 3.7 soms per kg in Talas region, 5.5 to 5.5 soms in Chu region and 5.5 to 7.0 soms in the South. However, the government buys wheat from private farmers for 4.9 soms per kg. The current rate of the Kyrgyz som is about 40 soms to the $1. The government has decided to increase customs duties for wheat export. According to local experts, this year's harvest will be less then in 1997 and 1998, when Kyrgyzstan harvested about 1.7 million metric tons of grain.

Tursunbek Akunov, Chairman of the Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan, told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 5 August that 17 Kyrgyz citizens detained in the Jambyl region of Kazakhstan three weeks ago will be extradited to the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry soon. He got the information from the Jambyl regional police. Kyrgyz Security Ministry department head Talant Razzakov confirmed the information. The Kazakh Interior Ministry arrested 78 people in the Beryozka holiday home near Taraz on 15 July. They were citizens of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and had gathered for communal prayers and religious activity. Neither weapons nor drugs were seized. Some of those detained (especially those under 18) were later released, but 31 people are still in detention in the regional centre of Taraz. 17 of them are Kyrgyz citizens. The Kyrgyz Muftiyat (Muslim Board) has sent a protest letter to the Kazakh Interior Ministry (see also "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 6 August 1999). According to Jambyl region acting prosecutor-general Galim Tanymov, the arrest was made at the request of the Interior Ministry of Uzbekistan. It was said in a letter by a deputy interior minister of Uzbekistan to the Kazakh authorities that wahhabi activists and some organizers of the terror acts in Tashkent last February had gathered near Taraz.

Valentina Setrina, chairwoman of the educational workers trade union, told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 5 August that back wages to teachers for 1998 have been paid in all regions of the country with exception of the Jalal-Abad region. However, the government owes 93 million soms (about $2.3 million) for back wages in 1999. The total monthly sum of wages to teachers is about 30 million soms.

Three seminars on corporate management were held in Balykchy, Cholpon-Ata and Karakul between 31 July - 6 August. The seminars were sponsored by the Asian Development Bank. According to Jypar Kadyralieva, an official of the centre for introducing corporate management, the management of some 260 enterprises around the country will be changed soon.

Kyrgyz Communist Party deputy chairwoman Klara Ajybekova told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 5 August that a large group of party members will soon break away from the Communist Party. According to her, they will form a second communist party, whose founding conference will be held in Bishkek on 21 August.

The Interior Ministry announced in Bishkek on 5 August that former head of the Leilek district of Osh region, Kursan Turdumamatov, was murdered in the neighboring Batken district on 3 August. An investigation is under way.

Deputy Minister of Justice Erkin Mamyrov announced in Bishkek on 4 August that the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights (KCHR), led by Ramazan Dyryldaev, will be re-registered soon. Mamyrov and legal experts of the ministry held a meeting with representatives of the KCHR and the Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan (HRMK) at the ministry that day. Nobody from the other organization registered with the ministry under the same name KCHR last April came to the meeting. It was decided at the meeting that the HRMK and KCHR are different organizations. Some leaders of both organizations earlier said that only one of them should exist, because the KCHR broke away from the HRMK in 1995. The ministry experts have clarified that the HRMK was registered with the ministry in 1992 and the KCHR in 1996. The HRMK was founded by Tursunbek Akunov early in the 1990s. The ministry revoked the registration of the KCHR in September 1998 and has refused to re-register it since. KCHR chairman Dyryldaev dismissed his deputy Sardarbek BotAliyev last year and the latter organized a new organization under the same name which was registered with the ministry last April. There are two other human rights organizations in Kyrgyzstan now: the Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law, founded by Natalya Ablova in 1993, and the pro-governmental Commission on Human Rights, whose chairman, parliament deputy Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, was appointed by President Askar Akayev last year.

Almaz Toktomambetov, secretary of the National Commission on the State Language, told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 4 August that the commission has worked out a new law draft on the state language. It has been sent to the government for examination and then will be presented to the parliament. According to Toktomambetov, the draft makes provision for more support for the state language, and all official documentation will be shifted to the state language (Kyrgyz) in future. Toktomambetov said all necessary documents and forms in Kyrgyz will be ready by 2000. Kyrgyz is the state language in Kyrgyzstan now and a special law on it was passed on 23 September 1989. Some deputies and other officials had suggested giving Russian either official status or the status of inter-ethnic communication language, but the parliament rejected all such suggestions in 1997. Ethnic Russians currently account for about 15 percent of Kyrgyzstan's population of 4.8 million.