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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 11:09 GMT
Kyrgyz president backs crackdown
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev (R) and Prime Minister Felix Kulov laugh during a press conference in Bishkek 02 November 2005.
Mr Bakiev (L) denied there was a rift with Mr Kulov (R)
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has defended the use of force to put down unrest in prisons on Tuesday.

Mr Bakiev, speaking at a news conference, said he would not hesitate to use force again to restore stability to Kyrgyzstan.

At least four people died after police moved to quell unrest in several jails on Tuesday.

The incident was sparked by the removal of a high-profile inmate from one prison to another.

The inmate, Aziz Batukayev, is one of 28 suspected of involvement in the killing of MP Tynychbek Akmatbayev, who was shot while visiting one of the prisons last month.

KYRGYZ VIOLENCE
1 November: Several jails hit by unrest after authorities move high-profile inmate
20 October: MP Tynchbek Akmatbayev and two aides shot dead during prison visit
22 September: MP and businessman Bayaman Erkinbayev shot dead
13 June: Security guards open fire on protesters in Osh, injuring at least seven
10 June: MP Jyrgalbek Surabaldiyev shot dead in Bishkek
1 June: Hundreds eject protesters from Supreme Court which they had held for more than a month

"Police did the right thing when they demanded that suspects and other inmates leave the prison for interrogations," said Mr Bakiev.

And he defended their response to what followed.

"[The inmates] refused to come out. [Law-enforcement officers] approached them to meet and they [the convicts] started shooting. Should they have been presented bagels in response?"

Mr Bakiev said the government was now in control of the situation, and said the prison disorder was inherited from the previous administration. He blamed corruption amongst prison administrators.

Correspondents say the authorities in many prisons in Kyrgyzstan and other former Soviet republics hand over the day-to-day running of the prison to inmates, who are often led by a top criminal boss.

'United'

But the president warned that the government would not tolerate further instability.

"Those taking up arms and attempting to speak a language of force with the authorities will be terminated, full stop," he said.

And he denied rumours of a rift between himself and Prime Minister Felix Kulov, which have been fuelled by Mr Bakiev's failure to stop recent protests against him.

"If we do not hug or kiss one another when we meet, this does not mean that we are at odds," Mr Bakiev said.

The protests against the prime minister have been led by Rysbek Akmatbayev, who faces charges of ordering a mafia-related murder, and is also the brother of the MP killed last month.

Mr Kulov was imprisoned on political charges under the country's previous regime in Moldovanovka prison.

Rysbek Akmatbayev claims his brother was shot dead by a man who was an associate of Mr Kulov's when he was in prison.

Kyrgyzstan has witnessed several violent incidents since the overthrow of ex-President Askar Akayev in March.

Two other MPs have been killed in recent months.




SEE ALSO:
Kyrgyz jail unrest claims lives
01 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Kyrgyz killing raises mafia fears
25 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Kyrgyzstan protests pressure PM
24 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
MP killed in Kyrgyz jail unrest
20 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Gunmen kill Kyrgyzstan politician
22 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Bakiev sworn in as Kyrgyz leader
14 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Protesters clash at Kyrgyz court
01 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Akayev quits as Kyrgyz president
04 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific


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