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Two Kyrgyz Politicians Arrested For Role In Southern Unrest

Usen Sydykov (file photo)
BISHKEK -- The former chief of staff of ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev and the leader of the country's Communist Party have been arrested in Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Usen Sydykov, who was a Bakiev adviser from 2006 to 2008, and Communist leader Iskhak Masaliev were arrested on suspicion of organizing uprisings by Bakiev supporters in the south of the country that began on May 13.

Kyrgyzstan's national television company broadcast a recorded telephone conversation that is allegedly between Sydykov and Masaliev in which the two interlocutors discuss coordinating the protests in the three southern cities during which the administration buildings were taken over by pro-Bakiev supporters.

Officials loyal to the interim government retook the buildings today.

Sydykov was one of the leaders of the 2005 Tulip Revolution that brought Bakiev to power.

He is the head of the New Kyrgyzstan party and is considered one of the most powerful politicians in Kyrgyzstan.

Disorder broke out in Osh on May 13 and spread to Batken and Bakiev's home region of Jalal-Abad.

The protests turned violent today when hundreds of Bakiev supporters clashed with hundreds of supporters of the interim government.

At least one person died of his wounds and three others are reportedly in serious condition. Dozens of others were injured, several with gunshot wounds.