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Suspect Arrested In Security Officer's Killing During Clashes At Kyrgyz Ex-President's Compound

Colonel Usenbek Niyazbekov was the father of six children.
Colonel Usenbek Niyazbekov was the father of six children.

BISHKEK -- A person suspected of shooting a top Kyrgyz security officer during clashes in and near the residential compound of former President Almazbek Atambaev last week has been arrested.

Kairat Zagibaev, a lawyer representing relatives of deceased Colonel Usenbek Niyazbekov, told RFE/RL on August 14 that a suspect, whose name was not disclosed, had been apprehended by police.

Niyazbekov, a father of six, was fatally wounded by a gunshot to the chest during the raid on Atambaev's compound in the village of Koi-Tash near Bishkek on August 7.

Atambaev told journalists the next day that he was the only one in the compound who had guns and that he was the only one who shot firearms during the clashes.

The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) refused to comment on the arrest when contacted by RFE/RL, saying that the Interior Ministry was still investigating the case.

Interior Ministry officials told RFE/RL that information about the arrest will be made public later.

Atambaev was arrested on August 8 after he surrendered to police following a violent two days of resistance.

His lawyer, Sergei Slesarev, told RFE/RL on August 15 that the former president had been charged with a total of 14 alleged crimes, including using violence against representatives of the authorities, organizing mass unrest, masterminding a murder attempt, hostage taking, illegal use of firearms, and several episodes of corruption.

The resistance by the former president and his supporters resulted in the death of the 47-year-old Niyazbekov and injuries to more than 170 others, including 79 law enforcement officers.

The violence underscored a power struggle between Atambaev and his handpicked successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, that has raised fears of instability in the Central Asian state.

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