Accessibility links

Breaking News

Kyrgyz Report: August 26, 1999

26 August 1999

Japan's Deputy Foreign Minister Takemi Keizo held a meeting with President Askar Akayev behind closed doors on his arrival in Bishkek on 26 August. According to the presidential press service, the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan and conditions of the four Japanese geologists taken hostage on 22 August was discussed. Keizo was scheduled to meet other Kyrgyz officials in Bishkek that night and it was expected a Japanese plan to release the hostages would be discussed.

Following a special meeting of the government on 26 August, the head of the government's information service, Farid Niyazov, denied media reports that a state of emergency had been declared in Batken. Niyazov also denied that Interior Ministry General Anarbek Shamkeev, who was taken hostage on 22 August, has been killed. (Other unconfirmed reports say the general died of a heart attack.)

The head of the defense and security department of the presidential administration, General Bolot Januzakov, announced in Bishkek on 26 August that nothing about hostages is known for sure.

According to Januzakov, hostages have been taken in two districts of Osh region - Batken and Chong-Alai districts - and the total number of rebels is about 650. Eleven Kyrgyz citizens - nine out of 18 policemen of the local police unit and two other local residents were taken hostage on 25 August. And five villages of Batken district (Zardaly, Jyluu-Suu, Kan, Korgon and Kojoatkan) have been occupied by the militants since last weekend. Zardaly alone has more than 320 residents.

About 3,000 refugees from neighboring villages have gathered in other parts of Batken as well as Kadamjai district. A group of 10 members of Kyrgyz parliament will go to Batken district on 27 August on a fact-finding mission.

Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin signed a special agreement in Bishkek on 26 August on demarcation of the frontiers between the two states. According to it, the last five disputed parts of the border have been fixed.

Department head of the government Salamat Alamanov told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 26 August the five disputed areas were: the Khan-Tengri peak, the Boz-Tik site, the Bedel pass, the Uzongu-Kuush valley and the Erkechtam pass. According to him, four out of the five areas, with the exception of Uzongi-Kuush, now belong to Kyrgyzstan.

The first Kyrgyz-Chinese working group on state borders was formed in 1992. Then, three agreements were signed at the summits in Shanghai in 1996, in Moscow in 1997 and in Almaty in 1998. The issue was discussed during President Akayev's visits to China in May 1992, in April 1996 and in April 1998, during the visit of Chairman Jiang Zemin to Kyrgyzstan in July 1996, and during the visit of Prime Minister Li Pen of China to Kyrgyzstan in April 1994.

The head of the defense and security department of the presidential administration, General Bolot Januzakov, announced in Bishkek on 25 August that 11 more people were taken hostage in the Chong-Alai district of Osh region the previous night. There was an exchange of fire between the band and Kyrgyz forces, but the general did not give details.

Several other bands crossed from Tajikistan to the neighboring Batken district of Kyrgyzstan last weekend and have occupied four villages (Zardaly, Dara, Kyshtyk and Kan). One soldier and a local official were killed during the rebel attack. According to Kyrgyz authorities, not less than 10 guerrillas have been killed since last weekend and six government soldiers have been wounded.

President Askar Akayev announced at the Shanghai Five summit in Bishkek on 25 August that the total number of guerrillas in Batken district is 350 to 400. He termed their activity "international terrorism." Akayev held a meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov in Bishkek on the morning of 25 August and the two presidents agreed that Tajikistan would close the state border to prevent rebels entering Kyrgyz territory.

The Kyrgyz and Russian sides also held a separate meeting on the situation in Batken, in which Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and head of the Federal Border Guard Service General Konstantin Totsky of Russia took part. Totsky said the hostage incidents in Kyrgyzstan would have no effect on the withdrawal of Russian border guards from Kyrgyzstan, which should be completed this month. President Akayev announced at the summit neither Russian nor Uzbek troops are taking part in military operations against rebels in Batken.

About 1,000 residents of the villages close to those seized by the guerrillas have been moved to other parts of the region. Some rural residents are leaving the district on their own. The guerrillas have blown up the Palalous bridge, the only one connecting Zardaly village with the district center.

The fourth summit of the Shanghai Agreement was held in Bishkek on 25 August. Presidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia, Jiang Zemin of China, Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, Emomali Rahmonov of Tajikistan and Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan took part in it. There were three items on the agenda: regional security problems, widening of the trade cooperation between the five states and implementation of agreements signed at the previous three summits.

A special 11-point Bishkek Declaration was adopted at the meeting. The five leaders have agreed to join their efforts in combating terrorism, weapon smuggling, drug trafficking, illegal migration, religious extremism. At the request of China and Kazakhstan, a special amendment was made to the declaration draft, under which no countries should intervene in the internal affairs of the other states under the pretext of protecting human rights. President Yeltsin said some countries want to establish a new world order which is convenient only to them themselves.

The Chinese, Kazakh and Kyrgyz presidents signed an agreement on demarcation of state borders around the Khan-Tengri peak, where the borders of the three states converge. President Akayev said the agreement is the final one between the three countries. A similar agreement between China, Russia and Kazakhstan was signed on 5 May 1999.

Tajik President Rahmonov proposed holding the next summit in Tajikistan. It was agreed to hold it in Dushanbe in May 2000. President Nazarbayev announced a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Asia would be held in Almaty on 14 September. The only president to appear at the post-summit press conference was Akayev. Nazarbayev, Rahmonov and Yeltsin left Bishkek that afternoon.

The State Tax Police office announced in Bishkek on 25 August that the chief editor and owner of the "Vechernii Bishkek" daily, Alexander Kim, had failed to come for questioning at the Tax Police that day and a criminal suit has been opened against him. Kim was summoned on 24 August. The editorial board said on 25 August that he is ill.

The executive editor of the paper, Vladimir Kozlisky, and columnist Kabai Karabekov announced at a news conference in Bishkek on 24 August that Alexander Kim had been arrested. They said Kim had become the sole decision maker at the editorial board and accused him of tax evasion. Kim then held a separate news conference and disproved the information of his arrest. According to Kim, officials from the Tax Police came to his office and demanded the paper's financial records, saying otherwise he would be arrested. Kim refused to give hand over the documents, saying the Tax Inspection reviewed them last December and should not do it again until next December.

About 20 journalists of the paper began a hunger strike on 24 August to protest the government action against the paper. "Vechernii Bishkek" has recently published several articles criticizing the government.

About 20 women held a protest demonstration in the town of Naryn on 25 August. They said they have not received children allowances since May. Department head at the regional administration, Kanyshai Sayakbayeva, has received their delegation, led by Aigul Mamytova, and promised to help.