MOSCOW (AP) — Kyrgyz forces were reported pulling out of a village after an unsuccessful raid to try to arrest the country’s ex-president at his residence in an operation that left one serviceman dead and more than 40 people injured.
The raid at former president Almazbek Atambayev’s residence south of Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishkek began Wednesday evening and continued into the pre-dawn hours. A throng of Atambayev supporters resisted the raiders; some barricaded themselves inside and took six servicemen as hostages.
The Interfax news agency cited Deputy Interior Minister Kursan Asanov as saying the decision to pull out was made after negotiations with Atambayev supporters, who agreed to release the six hostages by the morning if forces pulled back. The Kyrgyz news agency jg.24 also reported forces were leaving the village of Koi-Tash, but did not provide details.
The Health Ministry said 45 people were taken to hospitals, including a special forces member who was shot from inside the residence and died.
The raid raises concerns about political stability in Kyrgyzstan, which borders China and hosts a Russian military air base.
Kyrgyzstan, once hailed as an “island of democracy” in post-Soviet Central Asia, has repeatedly been shaken by political upheavals. Its first two presidents after independence were both driven from office by riots.
This story corrects the incumbent president’s first name to Sooronbai.