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Kyrgyz Interior Ministry Says Religious Extremism On Rise

Kyrgyz authorities say crimes related to religious extremism are on the rise, while at least 80 Kyrgyz citizens are known to be currently fighting alongside Islamic rebels in Syria.

The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry said on July 3 that 181 crimes committed by suspected religious extremists had been registered in the first six months of 2014. Last year, 133 such crimes were registered in the period from January to June.

The ministry said 145 men and women suspected of taking part in those crimes have been arrested in Kyrgyzstan since January 1.

According to the ministry, the number of Kyrgyz women taking part in extremist activities is also increasing. It said at least 10 of the 80 Kyrgyz fighting in Syria are believed to be women.

Religious extremist groups are mainly active in Kyrgyzstan's southern regions of Jalal-Abad and Osh, as well as in Bishkek, the capital.