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Kyrgyz special forces storm house of ex-President Atambayev

Atambayev's supporters resist the security forces

BISHKEK, August 7. /TASS/. Kyrgyzstan’s former president, Almazbek Atambayev, continues to offer resistance to crack police conducting an operation the village of Koi-Tash, the Chu region, in an attempt to detain him, the entourage of the former head of state told TASS.

"Crack police managed to enter the premises of Atambayev’s estate and approach the house where the president is at the moment. He keeps offering resistance," a spokesman for Atambayev’s team said, adding that the details of the current situation remained unclear, because the police did not allow anybody to approach Atambayev’s house, from where "shots continue to be fired."

According to the spokesman, supporters of Atambayev have seized special forces members who attempted to storm his house.

"Atambayev’s supporters have thwarted an attack on the ex-president’s house and seized a number of special forces soldiers," the spokesperson said. He added that weapons had been taken from the soldiers.

Kyrgyz National Security Committee has denied seizure of special forces soldiers by ex-president’s supporters.

"The State National Security Committee points out that reports claiming that Atambayev’s supporters have seized special forces soldiers are untrue. A special operation is underway," the committee said in a statement.

At least 36 people have suffered injuries during the detention operation. One of the special forces soldiers involved in the operation has died of injuries, a spokesperson for the country’s Health Ministry told TASS.

Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbay Jeenbekov has broken off his vacation in light of recent developments and returned to the country’s capital of Bishkek.

Charges against Atambayev

On June 27, Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted to strip Atambayev of immunity and ex-president status. The former president’s lawyer said the move ran counter to the country’s Constitution.

Atambayev is suspected of being involved in corruption schemes related to the reconstruction of Bishkek’s thermal power plant and Historical Museum, the unlawful release of crime boss Aziz Batukayev and illegal deliveries of coal to Bishkek’s thermal power plants, as well as in reassigning plots of land in the country’s Issyk-Kul region and illegally obtaining a plot of land to build a residential house in the Koi-Tash settlement, Chuy region.

The former president claims that the country’s incumbent head of state is persecuting him for political reasons. Atambayev earlier ignored three interrogation requests issued by the Interior Ministry and warned that he would offer armed resistance against attempts to arrest him.

Atambayev served as Kyrgyz president in 2011-2017. He was the country’s first head of state to step down after his first term in office had expired. In the spring of 2018, Atambayev admitted that he had strong differences with incumbent President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.