Bakiyev still has many supporters in the south of KyrgyzstanImage: AP
April 20, 2010
Toppled Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev is in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, according to the country's president Alexander Lukashenko. Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz interim government sent in troops to quell fresh riots.
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has given refuge to ousted Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
"He can stay and live here, and there is work for him," Lukashenko said during question time in parliament. Lukashenko also said that Bakiyev still considers himself the president of Kyrgyzstan.
Bakiyev, who was deposed after an uprising on April 7 that left at least 85 people dead, fled to neighboring Kazakhstan last Thursday, where he resigned in an internationally-brokered agreement designed to restore calm.
There had been speculation that Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994 and is known for his zero-tolerance of any kind of dissent, would take Bakiyev in.
Meanwhile, security forces are struggling to contain the continuing violence in Kyrgyzstan.
On Monday hundreds of police officers were dispatched to suppress riots that started outside the capital, Bishkek.
Ethnic Kyrgyz rioters seized plots of land from Russians and Turks in the village of Mayevka, and in the subsequent violence five people were killed and many others injured.
While Bakiyev's sympathizers in the south of the country are calling for his reinstatement, the ousted president faces arrest when he returns. Interim leaders hold him reponsible for most of the deaths during the April 7 uprising.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that Kyrgyzstan's interim government had to restore order and "legitimize itself." Uzbek leader Islam Karimov said he was concerned that instability in Kyrgyzstan might "become permanent."
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is also concerned about the security situation in the Central Asian country.
"We have to avoid further violence, looting and bloodshed at all costs," he said on Tuesday in Berlin.