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    Afghan militants behind interethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan - national security chief

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    Afghan militants were sent to Kyrgyzstan to organize interethnic clashes in the Jalalabad and Osh regions of the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic, the Kyrgyz national security chief said on Thursday.

    Afghan militants were sent to Kyrgyzstan to organize interethnic clashes in the Jalalabad and Osh regions of the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic, the Kyrgyz national security chief said on Thursday.

    Clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, who account for about 15% of Kyrgyzstan's population, broke out in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh on June 11, lasting several days and spreading to nearby Jalalabad. Official figures say 261 were killed in the clashes and more than 2,000 were injured, however Kyrgyz leaders admit that the real death toll could be 10 times higher.

    "The transfer of militants to the south of the republic was made on the eve of the June events from Afghanistan's Badakhshan province via Tajikistan's Khorugh and Murghob districts," Keneshbek Dushebayev said, adding: "Cooperation in transferring [the militants] was made by a former Tajik opposition commander and drug baron, whose [organizational] contact was Janysh Bakiyev (brother of deposed Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev)," he continued.

    The Kyrgyz National Security Service said people with professional backgrounds in using arms and experienced in sabotage, who received terrorist training in the past, have been actively involved in international conflicts. The service also said that the individuals received $250,000 in financial aid in April.

    Dushebayev said that supporters of Bakiyev's family intentionally sought to create a social political crisis in the republic in order to discredit the country's interim government and disrupt a referendum slated for June 27, as well as attempting to return Bakiyev's lost power in the wave of chaos.

    "We rightly believe that the financiers of these events were Bakiev's family members," he said.

    One of Bakiyev's sons, Maxim Bakiyev, received temporary political asylum in Great Britain last week.

    The Kyrgyz Prosecutor's General's Office initially charged Maxim Bakiyev with embezzling millions of dollars of a loan from Russia. According to prosecutors he had placed $35 million of a $300 million loan from Russia into his private bank accounts while in office.

    The interim government later said it suspected him of organizing and financing the recent deadly clashes in the country's south.

    The ousted president has also been accused of instigating recent clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, Bakiyev's former stronghold.

    The country's interim government has requested the former president's extradition and accused him of ordering the shooting of civilians during a series of violent protests in the Central Asian republic in early April as well as abuse of power and corruption during his leadership. Bakiyev has denied the claims.

    He took refuge in Belarus, which denied his extradition on Tuesday, saying it has found no legal grounds for it.

    BISHKEK, June 24 (RIA Novosti)

     

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