Detained Kyrgyz ex-president was plotting coup: security chief
Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) (AFP)
Kyrgyzstan's former president Almazbek Atambayev, who was detained in raids on his compound last week, was seeking to overthrow the government, the head of the country's security services said Tuesday.
"His intention was a state coup. I say that officially," Orozbek Opumbayev, the head of the national security services (GKNB), told a news conference in the capital Bishkek.
Atambayev was detained in a massive security operation on Thursday after a previous attempt to detain him a day earlier failed amid clashes between his supporters and law enforcement that left one special forces officer dead.
The raids came after Atambayev had ignored three police summonses for questioning in connection with the release of a well-known underworld figure during his presidency.
The Central Asian state, which has seen two revolutions in less than two decades, is caught in a standoff between the former leader and his protege-turned-foe President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.
Jeenbekov and Atambayev were once friends, and the former leader backed the incumbent in the 2017 election, triggering accusations that administrative resources were used to sway the vote.
That election marked an unprecedented peaceful transfer of power between heads of state in the ex-Soviet Muslim-majority nation of six million people.
The current crisis has drawn in Russia -- the country's Soviet-era master and traditional political patron -- where hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz work as migrant labourers.
Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin met with both Jeenbekov and Atambayev in Moscow in a bid to defuse the confrontation.
© 2019 AFP