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Former Kyrgyz Lawmaker Detained For Alleged Link To Islamic State

Maksat Kunakunov
Maksat Kunakunov

BISHKEK -- A former Kyrgyz lawmaker suspected of supplying weapons to militants linked to the Islamic State group has been detained while attempting to fly out of the country.

The Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (UKMK) said in a statement issued on July 20 that "Mr. K.M.K. -- former lawmaker, who represented Ak-Jol (Bright Path) party in the parliament, was detained in the Bishkek international airport at 4 a.m. while trying to leave Kyrgyzstan."

Sources in the UKMK tell RFE/RL that K.M.K. are the initials of Maksat Kunakunov (Kunakunov Maksat Kasymjan-Uulu).

Ak-Jol, the party he represented in parliament from 2007 to 2010, was founded by former President Kurmanbek Bakiev and was the ruling party when Bakiev's government was toppled by popular antigovernment protests in 2010.

The UKMK said in its statement that K.M.K. is suspected of financially supporting members of the Islamic State group targeted in counterterrorism raids last week and of providing them with at least two Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Six IS members were killed in two separate operations in and around Bishkek on July 16 and seven more arrested, according to the UKMK.

A spokesman for the UKMK, Rakhat Sulaimanov, told RFE/RL on July 17 that the militants were planning several terrorist attacks, including one against the Russian-led Kant military base, in Kyrgyzstan's north, and another targeting mass Eid al-Fitr prayers in Bishkek.

Sulaimanov said at the time that Zhanbolat Amirov, a citizen of neighboring Kazakhstan who was identified as the leader of the group, was among those killed.

Amirov and another Kazakh citizen, Albert Abkhin, were sentenced in Kyrgyzstan to three and four years in jail, respectively, for forgery and illegal border crossing several months ago.

Kyrgyz officials reported earlier that the two escaped prison in April.

On July 1, when Kyrgyz police located them in Bishkek and tried to rearrest them, Abkhin blew himself up, while Amirov evaded capture.

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