Interim president of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbayeva signed on Wednesday a decree to transfer the security forces in the south to the increased level of operation.
"The analysis of the information received from the government, and the appeals received from civilians indicate the presence of threats, possible destabilization of the socio-political situation in the country, provocative attacks of destructive forces, and strengthening of extremist and criminal groups ready to repeat riots. The situation is complicated by the fact that the population owns large quantities of weapons and ammunition," the document states.
Authorities in Bishkek rightly fear a repetition of the tragic events like those that occurred in early June in southern Kyrgyzstan in Osh and Jalal-Abad regions.
When the armed clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities began in this region of the country, the situation got out of the authorities’ control. For several days marked by pogroms and looting, very real ethnic cleansing took place in Osh and Jalal-Abad. According to unofficial data, the number of victims of the ethnic strife in the south exceeded 2,000 people, thousands more were injured. Tens of thousands of Uzbeks have been forced to seek refuge in their ancestral homeland.
After the order in the southern areas has been restored, the government of Kyrgyzstan made a decision to bring the police under the OSCE in order to normalize the situation in the southern region. By the decision of the OSCE, a group of 52 international police advisors was to arrive to the south of Kyrgyzstan. However, this decision was controversial and its opponents held a series of rallies.
Yesterday, a massive rally against the introduction of Kyrgyzstan Police Consultative Group of the OSCE began in the regional center of Osh. Demonstrators chanting the slogan “OSCE, leave!” and holding posters “OSCE - hands off from Kyrgyzstan!” and ”We do not want the Kosovo scenario.” Participants of the meeting in Osh say they intend to hold rallies indefinitely until the authorities cancel the decision to bringin the OSCE Police.
Experts believe that such negative attitude towards the presence of international forces is caused by the fact that people do not trust representatives of international organizations. “Now try to prove something to the opponents if they know that international organizations are applying double standards, as in the case of Kosovo, and (South) Ossetia,” said Orozbek Moldaliyev, a political scientist, during the roundtable focused on the input of international police in Kyrgyzstan,.
Deputy Chairman of the interim government of Kyrgyzstan Beknazarov also spoke against the introduction of the Police Advisory Group.
"When the riots began, we asked both the CSTO and the OSCE for help, but they have not responded, and we were left alone with our problems. And now, when our law enforcement agencies took control of the situation, they suddenly decided to send the police. I believe that now the ethnic conflict should be solved only through public diplomacy, rather than the introduction of external forces," Beknazarov said on Wednesday responding to reporters' questions.
Meanwhile, sources close to President Otunbayeva note that the presence of a police advisory group in Kyrgyzstan is one of the conditions for granting the country millions of international aid for rebuilding the ruins in the south.
Will the authorities decide to use force to disperse the rally in Osh, where the situation continues to deteriorate now, at the start of the campaign? Additional police forces were brought to the rally, but law enforcement officers have not interfered in the events yet.
In the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, law enforcement agencies acted more decisively. According to the Department of Public Relations of the State Service National Security, law-enforcement agencies managed to prevent riots that destructive forces intended to organize in the capital on Monday.
Police officers detained about 20 people, who, under the pretext of a requiem rally for those who died on April 7, were going to bring to the streets 5,000 citizens, and then provoke riots. Nearly 10,000 leaflets and brochures, which, according to security services, were published with financial support of close relatives of ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, were seized from the potential assailants.
The main organizer of the event, according to GSNB, was a 40-year Torobay Kolubaev, who “was supported by various youth organizations, social organizations and individual nationalist politicians.”
Intelligence officials say Kolubaev and his associates planned to support the rally of ex-presidential candidate Urmat Baryktabasov, whose followers organized riots on August 5 in a suburb of Kant. After the arrest of Baryktabasov, they “undertook campaign activities for a certain part of the population of Chui region for participation in a supposedly peaceful rally, followed by a provocation.”
In addition, another associate of ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, former Prime Minister Igor Chudinov, was arrested. Chudinov headed the government of Kyrgyzstan under former President K. Bakiyev from December 2007 to October 2009. Then he headed the Republican Fund for Development. At the moment the special services do not explain the reasons for the arrest of the former prime minister.
The political situation in Kyrgyzstan, where on August 10 the election campaign was actually started, would require the authorities to mobilize all forces to prevent the outbreak of new violence. Although, according to Kyrgyz political scientist Temerlana Ibraimova, “the struggle of political parties during the parliamentary elections would be definitely tough.” In an interview to RIA Novosti he did not rule out possibility of conflict situations and organization of various disturbances during the elections.
Another Kyrgyz political scientist, Mars Sariev, is also convinced that the fall destabilization in the country will take place. "Pre-election struggle and the post-election protest rally could disrupt the fragile peace, as it is obvious that now the potential conflicts among the parties themselves are extremely probable, because political parties got paramilitary wings that are armed, and they may be tempted to challenge the election results by force," considers the expert.
Now headquarters designed to ensure public order are being organized on the basis of ATC Osh and Jalal-Abad. Earlier Osh and Jalal-Abad regions were subject to an emergency regime, imposed in connection with the June riots. Recently, Otunbayeva ordered to cancel it to be able to set a date for parliamentary elections.
But who knows if the region will have to enter state of emergency again? The situation in the south of Kyrgyzstan is still complicated by the fact that population has a large number of weapons. Participants of the April uprising and subsequent riots took the weapons and ammunition away from law enforcers, as well as had access to weapons by capturing certain objects (for example, police stations).
"To neutralize the threat to national security, as well as to use the resources of the executive power in the campaign most effectively, the President demanded that starting August 11 and until further notice, Prosecutor General's Office, Ministry of Defense, National Security State Service, the Interior Ministry, Emergencies Ministry and other law enforcement agencies are transferred to an enhanced level of operation," says the document released by the presidential press service.
Such strong language gave some experts grounds to interpret the decree regarding the transfer of the security forces in the south to an enhanced level of operation, signed by Rosa Otunbayeva, as a prelude to the possible introduction of an emergency situation.