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Family Questions 'Suicide' Of Kyrgyz Serviceman

Hazing and other dangerous forms of harassment have proven a problem in Kyrgyzstan's military. (file photo)
BISHKEK -- Relatives of a Kyrgyz soldier who died during border duty in northern Kyrgyzstan last week say they do not believe an official suggestion that he committed suicide, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Military officials said this week that Erlan Mamytov killed himself on July 29.

But Mamytov's aunt, Gulgakky Maldybaeva, told RFE/RL that his relatives think he was murdered.

She did not elaborate, but said the family has hired a lawyer and asked the NGO Soldiers' Mothers to investigate the circumstances of his death.

Hazing in the military is a persistent problem across much of the former Soviet Union, often leading to deaths, suicides, or serious injuries.

Border Guard Service spokeswoman Salkyn Abdykarieva confirmed to RFE/RL that Mamytov was found dead in his military unit on July 29.

She added that a special commission chaired by Border Guard Service Commander Zakir Tilenov has been set up to investigate Mamytov's death.

Read more in Kyrgyz here