Islamic extremists, Bakiyevs blamed in Kyrgyz violence

Security service says IMU, IJU, Bakiyevs, certain ethnic leaders were involved

By Alisher Karimov and Aibek Karabayev

2010-06-24

BISHKEK -- International terrorist organizations co-ordinated with relatives of deposed president Kurmanbek Bakiyev to foment the recent riots in southern Kyrgyzstan, the State National Security Service (SNSS) announced at a June 24 press conference.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) field commanders decided to take their fight to Kyrgyzstan during a recent meeting in Pakistan. "The meeting's participants concluded that the time was right in the Osh and Dzhalal-Abad oblasts to activate (their struggle) and spread it throughout all of Central Asia", SNSS chief Keneshbek Dushebayev said.

Those radicals have colluded with relatives of Bakiyev and leaders of ethnic-cultural centres, Dushebayev said.

Bakiyev, in exile in Belarus, has denied involvement in any violence that followed his April 7 ouster.

Maksim Bakiyev (the ex-president's son) invited IMU representatives to negotiations in Dubai in April, he said. An early May meeting in Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province -- including Taliban, IMU, IJU and United Tajik Opposition field commanders and two Bakiyev family envoys -- led to an agreement that the IJU would help destabilise Kyrgyzstan, Dushebayev said.

Participants allegedly agreed to undermine the foundations of the state, stir up ethnic conflicts and terrorise society in exchange for US $30m from the Bakiyevs.

Military analyst Togtogul Kakchekeyev agreed with Kyrgyz intelligence that Islamic fighters were involved in the riots.

"The overthrow of Bakiyev provided the groundwork, and this groundwork played its role. Everything was worked out very precisely”, he said.

The SNSS has little evidence for its allegations, however, Kakchekeyev said.

Dushebayev said fifteen experienced Uzbek fighters, including mine-layers and snipers, slipped into Kyrgyzstan in May. He identified their leader as an Uzbek citizen nicknamed Ilkhom, from Kokand. An Uzbek nicknamed Abdullah guided them through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, he said. Abdullah is a Tashkent native and IJU member, he said.

Forgers in Kyrgyzstan created authentic-looking documents for the fighters, Dushebayev said. The "ethnic-cultural centres" allegedly involved were Uzbek community centres in southern Kyrgyzstan. Not everybody accepted Dushebayev's argument.

No third parties were involved in organising the riots, said NGO Religion-Politics-Law director Kadyr Malikov.

"Persecution of ethnic centres' leaders by the interim government gives those leaders no room to maneuver and no way for them to steer their followers toward stabilising the situation", Malikov said. "Many of those followers, generally young and left leaderless, can fall under the influence of fundamentalists who are already penetrating Kyrgyzstan. Having the ethnic conflict continue is to the fundamentalists' advantage".

Politically significant figures -- not just Kyrgyz and Uzbek elders -- need to work toward reconciliation, Malikov said. "Otherwise, the ethnic conflict will continue and the situation will be worsened by the participation of Islamist fundamentalist forces, which could lead to the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) sending in troops after all and to Kyrgyz sovereignty being imperilled", Malikov said.

The SNSS had to blame someone before the June 27 referendum, said Arkady Dubnov, an analyst from the Russian newspaper Vremya Novostei.

"The authorities are trying to show that they've mastered the situation and identified the culprits,” Dubnov said. “They stressed (the alleged complicity of) an outside 'third party', an Islamist force, and of ethnic-cultural centres. By doing so, the authorities think they can reduce tension and free themselves of responsibility (for the violence).”

Embittered ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan are concerned that nobody -- Uzbekistan, Russia or the UN -- helped them when they were being slaughtered, said Aleksandr Kniazyev, a consultant at Kazakhstan's Institute for Political Solutions.

"Rumors are spreading that the IMU is coming to avenge slain Uzbek Muslims and to establish a just Islamic order in which nobody can commit genocide against Muslims", Kniazyev said.

"By its refusal to acknowledge the objective picture of what happened in June in the Osh and Dzhalal-Abad oblasts, the interim government is shoving a big part of the southern Uzbek community into the arms of the religious extremists, for whom destabilising the Fergana Valley is part of the grand plan for creating an 'arc of instability' in Eurasia", he said.

Kakchekeyev urged more action and less talk.

“A child's game is going on, a farce", he said. "That's why we're getting pronouncements and boasting".

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