Kyrgyzstan offers bounty for leader

May 3, 2010 12:00 am

, BISHKEK, May 3 – Kyrgyzstan\’s interim government on Monday said it was prepared to pay up to 100,000 dollars for information leading to the arrest of the ex-Soviet state\’s ousted leader and his aides.

The provisional government, which took power last month amid bloody protests, has demanded the extradition from Belarus of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who they blame for the deaths of 85 protestors and other crimes.

"The provisional government of Kyrgyzstan has promised to pay from 20,000 dollars to 100,000 dollars (15,100 to 75,500 euros) for concrete assistance in locating and capturing these criminals," an interim government commission said in a statement.

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko gave Bakiyev — who fled the Central Asian state via neighbouring Kazakhstan after the unrest — sanctuary in Belarus after voicing anger over the uprising which ousted him.

The list released on Monday with the names of those subject to payment for capture is a who\’s who of the former Kyrgyz government and Bakiyev\’s family.

One prominent name is that of Bakiyev\’s son Maxim — under investigation in absentia for corruption regarding fuel sales to a US airbase here seen as key to coalition operations in nearby Afghanistan.

The United States relies on its airbase at Manas outside the capital Bishkek as a vital transit hub for the campaign against the Taliban, with almost 40,000 troops moving through the base each month.

But the US Congress began hearings last week into whether Washington tolerated corruption in the strategic Central Asian state in a bid to maintain access to Manas.

Also on the list are Bakiyev\’s brother Zhanysh — who many blame for the order to open fire on protestors — and former prime minister Daniyar Usenov, who was forced to resign by protestors and has since fled the country.


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