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Kyrgyz Investigators Question Ex-PM Isakov Days After Dismissal

Kyrgyz ex-prime minister Sapar Isakov arrives for questioning by the state security committee on April 26 in Bishkek.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz former Prime Minister Sapar Isakov says he has been questioned by investigators over an incident that left parts of the capital without heating last winter.

Isakov, who was fired by President Sooronbai Jeenbekov earlier this month, told journalists on April 26 that he was questioned as a witness in the case for about an hour at the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (UKMK) headquarters in Bishkek.

He said the case is related to an accident that occurred at the city's heating center earlier this year.

Isakov did not elaborate, but said that "everything is okay."

The development comes days after Isakov and his government were sacked on April 19, hours after lawmakers passed a no-confidence motion initiated by opposition lawmakers following criticism of the government's annual report by opposition parties.

In an unexpected move, the ruling coalition led by former President Almazbek Atambaev's Social Democratic party abruptly withdrew its backing for Isakov, prompting his cabinet's fall.

Isakov’s successor, Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev, and his government were sworn in on April 25.

Earlier in April, Jeenbekov sacked several Atambaev allies, including Prosecutor-General Indira Joldubaeva and UKMK head Abdil Segizbaev, who had been criticized for a crackdown on opposition politicians and independent journalists.

Atambaev kept a low profile for several months after leaving office five months ago, but has recently begun publicly criticizing his former protege and anointed successor.

Kyrgyzstan, a country of 6 million that hosts a Russian military base, is widely seen as the most democratic but also the most politically volatile of the five Central Asian states that gained independence in the Soviet breakup of 1991.

Antigovernment protests toppled presidents in 2005 and 2010.