Ousted Kyrgyz leader in Belarussia

Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko said today that Kyrgyzstan's former president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, was in the Belarussian capital, Minsk.

Mr Bakiyev fled Kyrgyzstan last week after an uprising against his five-year rule. Before he fled Kyrgyzstan, Mr Bakiyev had said that Mr Lukashenko had offered him political asylum.

"He is with us under the defence of our state and president," Mr Lukashenko told the Belarussian parliament. "He is the president of a state with which we are friendly." Mr Lukashenko said Mr Bakiyev was in Minsk with his family.

Elsewhere, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev today ordered the defence ministry to ensure the safety of Russians in Kyrgyzstan after attacks against ethnic Russians, Interfax news agency reported.

It was not immediately clear what measures Russia, which has a military base in Kyrgyzstan, would use to ensure the safety of Russians in the wake of an April 7th uprising that overthrew the president.

Ethnic violence broke out on the outskirts of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek yesterday, leaving at least one person dead and challenging efforts to restore stability after an uprising overthrew the president.

A minority Turkish farmer died trying to defend his home against 100 armed attackers on the outskirts of Kyrgyzstan's capital as ethnic violence erupted in the Central Asian state.

His body was left lying on the doorsteps of his two-storey house late today after hundreds of Kyrgyz men stormed through the village of Mayevka, looting and torching dozens of houses and barns. Four others were killed in overnight violence.

"Everyone ran away, but he put up resistance. So they stabbed him to death with knives and hayforks," said Alik Aliyev, a relative and neighbour. "They took everything from the house. They even knocked teeth out of his mouth looking for gold fillings."

An interim government is struggling to exert control over the Central Asian state after an uprising on April 7th that ousted Mr Bakiyev and disrupted US military flights to Afghanistan through a Kyrgyz air base.

The interim authorities said they were sending in troops and armoured vehicles to stem the violence, in which witnesses said ethnic Kyrgyz were looting ethnic Russian and Meskhetian Turkish homes in Mayevka village.


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