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Kyrgyzstan's Mufti Reported Missing

Murataaly Hajji Jumanov uulu went missing on April 7
BISHKEK -- The longtime official head of Kyrgyzstan's Muslim community, Murataaly Hajji Juman uulu, is missing, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Juman uulu's deputy, Suyun Hajji Kuliev, told RFE/RL that he may have been kidnapped. He said a session of the Council of Alims (Muslim scholars) scheduled for April 21 will not be held due to the mufti's disappearance. The council was expected to elect a new mufti at the session.

Council members said Juman uulu was last seen on April 7, the day when antigovernment protesters clashed with security forces in Bishkek.

Juman uulu is believed to have been close to ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

The Interior Ministry said it is investigating the case.