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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Kyrgyz MP shot dead in Bishkek
Ryspek Akmatbayev
Mr Akmatbayev's opponents had accused him of links to the criminal underworld
A controversial Kyrgyz businessman and MP, Ryspek Akmatbayev, has been shot dead while leaving a mosque on the outskirts of the capital Bishkek.

According to witnesses, Mr Akmatbayev's body was carried away by aides after the shooting.

Elected to parliament last month, he had been unable to take up his seat because of criminal proceedings against him on murder charges.

He also had previous convictions for assault.

Police quoted witnesses at the scene as saying there had been a shoot-out outside the mosque.

"I can see spent gun cartridges and blood, but no bodies," city police chief Moldomusa Kongantiyev told Reuters news agency.

Mr Akmatbayev's brother, Tynychbek, held the parliamentary seat before him, but was killed last year while visiting a prison during a riot.


Ryspek Akmatbayev is the fourth parliamentarian to be killed in recent months.

The shooting comes just hours after President Kurmanbek Bakiev sacked three top officials including his security chief, after pressure from opponents who have staged protests against his rule.

Mr Bakiev has been facing growing calls to deal with criminality and organised crime amid fears that the central Asian country could be heading towards greater instability.

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