Inmates at a prison outside the Kyrgyz capital took a lawmaker hostage on Thursday, the Interior Ministry said, and four people including the legislator's bodyguard were killed in a shootout there.Prime Minister Felix Kulov and Interior Minister Murat Sutalinov rushed to the Moldovanovka prison, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) outside Bishkek, to monitor the situation.
The Interior Ministry press service said it had received reports that the legislator, Tynychebek Akmatbayev, had been taken captive. Earlier Thursday, Akmatbayev, who chairs the parliament's committee on law enforcement, had visited the prison in Novopokrovka, where unrest broke out earlier this week and where guards remained outside the compound for a third day after inmates forced them out.
Sergei Sidorov, spokesman for the administration of penal colonies, said that the situation in Novopokrovka, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside Bishkek, had calmed down. About 2,000 people are serving sentences at Novopokrovka.
The prison administration and the inmates met Thursday to discuss the conflict, he said, adding that the administration had agreed to look into improving living conditions in the prison, the alleged cause of the unrest, according to the Interfax news agency. A.M.