Deposed Kyrgyz Leader Surfaces in Belarus

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told his Parliament on Tuesday that deposed Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his family were in the country.

"He [Bakiyev] is under the safety of our state and the president in our country," he said.

Lukashenko explained that Bakiyev had come to the capital, Minsk on Monday as was agreed to last weekend.

Bakiyev gave in to opposition protesters in Kyrgyzstan on April 15, stepping down as president and then fleeing to neighboring Kazakhstan. On April 19 it was reported that he had then left Kazakhstan, but his destination was unknown.

Bakiyev's safe departure from Kyrgyzstan had been the result of joint efforts of the presidents of Kazakhstan, the United States, and Russia. Many feared that if Bakiyev had not fled, the clashes between government and opposition forces that left 84 protesters dead could erupt again and the impoverished Central Asia clan-ruled country might sink into civil war.

Kyrgyz's new authorities hold Bakiyev, his relatives, and allies accountable for the protesters' deaths.

Since last weekend, the self-declared government has been facing some protests from Bakiyev supporters in several cities in the southern part of the country, who are demanding his return.

On April 19 in the north end of the capital city, mobs armed with sticks, shovels, and flaming liquids rioted in the village of Maevka, attempting to seize lands owned by ethnic Russians and Meskhetin-Turks, destroying homes, leaving five dead and dozens injured.

Bakiyev's stronghold is in the south, where he is from. The two main factions in the country divide along north-south lines with Bakiyev coming from the poorer agrarian south, and the coup being lead by a leader from the more prosperous north.

The current development is unsettling for the new government, which is hoping to legitimize its power and meet people's demands.

The international community has not yet recognized the self-declared government, but some have expressed support by delivering humanitarian and financial aid, including the United States, Russia, and China among other countries.


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