Kyrgyzstan’s ex-president charged with murder after deadly clashes | World news

Prosecutors have charged Kyrgyzstan’s former president Almazbek Atambayev with murder and causing mass unrest after a deadly clash last week with security forces who were seeking to arrest him.

Atambayev surrendered to police on Thursday when they raided his house and took him in for questioning over a corruption case. His supporters had repulsed a similar raid the previous day in which one security officer was killed.

The former president, whose escalating conflict with his successor, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, risks plunging the central Asian country into political crisis, was accused, among other charges, with organising mass unrest and murdering the officer who was shot dead during the botched raid, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Tuesday.

It also said he had been accused of plotting a coup, though that specific allegation did not appear among the five charges that the agency listed. Those also included hostage-taking.

Atambayev, 62, who served as president of the former Soviet republic between 2011 and 2017, backed his then-ally Jeenbekov’s presidential bid, hoping to retain political influence.

But Jeenbekov purged Atambayev loyalists from his cabinet last year, prompting a falling-out between the two, and he secured an endorsement from Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, in July.

Kyrgyzstan has been a close ally of Moscow and hosts a Russian military airbase.

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