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Army and police patrol Kyrgyz capital

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Army and police patrol Kyrgyz capital


Security forces are in full control in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek for the first time since this week’s uprising.

On previous nights, vigilante groups backed by the self-proclaimed new government were on patrol. But, as voluntary youth brigades prepared to take to the streets once again to battle looters, news arrived that their services were no longer needed.

Wednesday’s clashes killed at least 75 people in Kyrgyzstan, where a third of the population live below the poverty line.

With the Central Asian country’s future uncertain,
the US military has suspended troop flights out of its Manas air base there. Forces will instead be transported to and from Afghanistan via Kuwait. Russia, which also has a military base in Kyrgyzstan, will be watching events closely.

Under interim leader Roza Otunbayeva, the former Soviet republic has moved closer to Moscow. She has offered ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev safe passage from Kyrgyzstan. Having fled to the south, he says he fears he will be killed if he returns to the capital. Reports say he is to be stripped of his immunity from prosecution.

As a struggle for power and influence unfolds inside and outside the battered country’s borders, for now a tense calm has descended on Kyrgyzstan.

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