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Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 10:39 UK

Russia 'returns Kyrgyz minister'

Kurmanbek Bakiyev in Minsk, Belarus (21 April 2010)
The minister worked for Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was ousted in an uprising

Russian forces have detained the former Kyrgyz interior minister and returned him to the Central Asian nation, the interim Kyrgyz government said.

Moldomusa Kongantiyev was held in Moscow and is now in custody in Bishkek, a senior Kyrgyz official said.

Mr Kongantiyev served under Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was ousted in bloody protests two weeks ago.

Officials said he was being investigated for his role in the violence on 7 April.

More than 80 people died in the clashes, which erupted on a day of opposition protests. The interim government says Mr Bakiyev's administration ordered troops to open fire on protesters.

Mr Bakiyev is now in Belarus, having left Kyrgyzstan days after the uprising. The interim government has detained or is seeking several members of his administration and family.

"With the help of Russian law enforcement agencies, we were able to detain former interior minister Kongantiyev in Moscow," said Almazbek Atambayev, one of the deputy heads of the interim government.

He said the former minister was now in jail and thanked Russia for its help.

Correspondents say the move suggests strong Russian support for Kyrgyzstan's interim government, which is headed by a former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva.

Kyrgyzstan is strategically important to both the US and Russia, because both have important military bases in the country.



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