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New assault on security forces to arrest former president of Kyrgyzstan
Supporters of Almazbek Atambaïev face members of the special forces in Koï-Tach, Kyrgyzstan, on August 7, 2019. VLADIMIR VORONIN / AP

Tension is rising in Kyrgyzstan, where the conflict between the current state leader and his predecessor has already killed one. Thursday, August 8, twenty-four hours after a first attack that failed, the special forces launched a new assault on the residence of the former president, Almazbek AtambaÃev. The fear of a fire in the country is growing as Kyrgyzstan has been shaken by two revolutions in 2005 and 2010.

About 1,000 members of the special forces are deployed around the building to arrest the former head of state, charged with corruption and in conflict with his successor, according to the deputy Irina Karamushkina, allied to Mr. Atambaiev. An equal number of supporters of Mr. Atambaïev face them in the residence, located in the village of Koï-Tach, near the capital, Bishkek.

Almazbek Atambaayev, 62, who left power at the end of 2017, saw his immunity of former president of the Republic lifted by the deputies. He is suspected of illegally acquiring land and having released a member of a mafia clan; accusations that it denounces as a political maneuver of the new president, his rival Sooronbaï Jeenbekov.

New assault on security forces to arrest former president of Kyrgyzstan
Armed partisans of Almazbek Atambaïev in his residence, Koï-Tach on 7 August 2019. VLADIMIR PIROGOV / REUTERS

One dead and 57 wounded

At the end of his term, Almazbek Atambaayev had won political prizes for the candidacy of Sooronbaà Jeenbekov, then his colt, but their relationship quickly broke down. Their personal conflict now raises fears of serious unrest in the former Soviet Central Asian Republic, which is also plagued by frequent ethnic tensions.

Wednesday's assault gave rise to violence. A correspondent from the Agence France-Presse saw the police and hundreds of supporters of Mr. Atambaïev threw stones. And Atambaïev's supporters disarmed and beat men of the special forces to take them hostage, while other supporters tried to protect them.

A member of the special forces was also killed and the police chief of the province of Tchouï (north), present on the scene, is badly wounded. According to the Attorney General, a total of 23 civilians and 24 security force members were hospitalized. The Ministry of Health said Thursday that some of the civilians had gunshot wounds.

New assault on security forces to arrest former president of Kyrgyzstan
Armed partisans of Almazbek Atambaïev surround a wounded Special Forces member taken prisoner in the former head of state's residence in Koï -Tach the 7th of August 2019. VLADIMIR PIROGOV / REUTERS

Risk of civil conflict

President Jeenbekov has gone on holiday to return to Bishkek. On Thursday morning, he held an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, in which he accused Mr. Atambaïev of violating the Constitution by opposing the security forces. € ™ order. He called on members of the Council, including the Minister of the Interior, the Attorney General and the Chief of Special Services, to take "Immediate measures" aimed at maintaining law, peace and security in the country. For his part, Mr. Atambaïev, who judges the charges against him  " absurd", has announced its intention not to let it go, saying it is ready to "Stay up until the end" and to oppose his arrest.

The Kyrgyz people "Will never live on my knees, will never be a flock of sheep, will never be the slave of the ruling clan", he said in an address broadcast on the TV channel he owns. In June, Mr. Atambaïev went to Russia, an allied country of Kyrgyzstan, to be received by Vladimir Putin. The Russian president was then worried about possible disturbances, giving the "Political stability" in the country.

"Unfortunately, the conflict has reached a threshold of danger in recent days."Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief Sergey Naryshkin was quoted by the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti as saying on Thursday. Political analyst and video blogger Azim Azimov said he feared "A civil conflict (Â € |), if both parties decide to go to the end ". Â € œThis is the most scary potential issueâ €he said.

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