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Kyrgyz Officials Say One Dead As Suspected Arms Dealers Arrested

Kyrgyz officials display weapons seized in the arrests.
Kyrgyz officials display weapons seized in the arrests.
BISHKEK -- Seven suspected illegal arms traders have been arrested in and around Bishkek while another suspect reportedly killed himself, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

State Committee for National Security (UKMK) Deputy Chairman Kolbai Musaev told journalists in Bishkek today that two of those arrested on July 29-30 have been formally charged.

One of the two is a police major. Yet another policeman is wanted for questioning in connection with the case, along with a person who is suspected of being a member of the Islamic Jihad Union terrorist group.

"The group might have been also involved in illegal drugs sales, money laundering, and supporting terrorism," Musaev said.

"One of the leaders of the group is a police major from the Chui district's Interior Ministry Department. We found an AK-47 assault rifle and three packs of ammunition in his office," he added. "The group members confessed that to date they have sold a machine gun and 10 assault rifles."

One local businessman suspected of belonging to the group of illegal arms traders jumped from a high-rise building during the arrests and died in the hospital.

Police reportedly found numerous weapons in his apartment and office.

Interior Ministry spokesman Rakhmatulla Akhmedov told RFE/RL an investigation had been launched.

Read more in Kyrgyz here