kyrgyzstan


Here’s a note from a C C for C Missionaries and others in that country, please pray for them:

As I write this evening, it has been a calm day in Osh.  G closed his office late morning as a precaution since they were gathering in Osh at the square (where the Whitehouse is located).  However, it was a peaceful takeover and the opposition urged folks not to take the same actions that were taken in Bishkek (looting, etc.).  So far, so good!!  I think tomorrow will be business as usual.

The following is what our Field Director wrote from Bishkek:  I added some comments in brackets.

“Bishkek is calm, the opposition has won here. Apparently they took over the national TV studio around 6 pm (that was why there was fighting at Kievskaya/Molodaya Gvardia). The government buildings fell much later.

What is not clear is the whereabouts of Bakiev, or whether there is anyone left in the country prepared to defend him (his own home area, for example).

Reports on akipress, however, suggest that the opposition has now assumed control–without opposition–in all the southern oblast capitals. A report on the Russian site of Radio Liberty (svobodanews.ru), however, said that as of 8:47 this morning, tens of thousands of armed supporters of Bakiev were on their way to Bishkek. That seems hard to believe, and I have not seen it confirmed elsewhere.

Our local office manager was at the central square in Bishkek around 9:30 this morning and reported there was still a crowd there. All is calm, he even suggested I should go and see. He had been inside the presidential office building, which the police stopped defending around 10:30 last night, and which he said had been completely ruined. People were still in there taking things, he said. I declined to visit the square–it is still wise to avoid crowds–though I did go out and look at the area between here and Beta Stores. Lots of people out, mostly heading to the square to see what happened and take some pictures.

At 9:35, the death count published on Akipress (for both Talas and Bishkek) was 68, with hundreds wounded. At the central square, an ambulance showed up while our office manager was there. They were looking for blood donors, saying the hospital had run out of blood . . .

The following information came from Kent at 10:30, who had been in touch with people in various places: I have modified it slightly, as it seems to me it will take a real act of God to prevent more looting tonight (I have not tried to update it, however). Do pray for peace and order! I find it a real answer to prayer that the battle for the north has happened so quickly, in only two days. Even one person is too many dead, but it could have been worse.

Summary
The north seems firmly in the hands of the opposition (Bishkek, Talas, Karakol, Naryn). In the South, Batken, Osh and Jalalabad are very quiet. [Osh and Jalalabad both are also in the hands of the opposition.] All Associates are safe and seem to be in no danger from the political troubles.

Details.
Government
Most people say that the former president Bakiev has gone to the south, but no-one really knows. The opposition have appointed Rosa Otunbaeva (former Ambassador to USA, and also at one point to UK, I believe, also a former Foreign Minister) as acting leader/president. They have also appointed people as interim ministers for several government departments. One important appointment was for someone to run the Ministry of Interior, which controls the police. This means that normal law and order on the streets may come back to normal sooner than in 2005. In general, during the day it should be OK to move around, but it will be safest to just stay at home. There may be more problems tonight. Therefore you should stay at home Thursday night. (This is for ALL Associates in all areas of Kyrgyzstan)

Bishkek
There were violent clashes between the opposition and police/army yesterday. Reports are at least 40 dead. The opposition took control of the White House about 1.00am this morning. As of 9.30am there were still people looting in the White House. There was some looting last night, but not as bad as 2005. Some houses belonging to Bakiev family and government people were burnt. There was some shooting until about 2.30pm. Shooting was not just in the centre but in other areas as well. Bishkek seems quiet now.

Karakol
The opposition has control. The governor has resigned and left. There were some demonstrations but not a lot of violence.

Talas
Quiet now, but a lot of shooting and trouble Tuesday/Wednesday. The police barracks were burnt and many weapons stolen.

Naryn
Relatively quiet. Opposition seems firmly in control.

Osh
Osh has been fairly quiet. There was a student meeting planned Wednesday afternoon but heavy rain seems to have stopped it. This morning there are about 2000 people in front of the Osh White House (state government building), against Bakiev. We will let you know when we know. [As I said above, Osh has been taken over and is quiet.]

Jalalabad
All quiet there. This is Bakiev’s home territory. [Supposedly the governor there just gave over the government building to the opposition to avoid any bloodshed.]

Batken
There was no action, no meetings at all in Batken yesterday. Everyone seems to be waiting and watching. One interesting fact is that late yesterday 2 planes arrived there. This could have been Bakiev, but it could also have been police reinforcements in case there was trouble in Batken.

Overview
The biggest concern now is that this turns into a struggle between north and south – the north being the Opposition and the south remaining loyal to Bakiev. Osh may be the key to this. At least two regions in the south (Alai and KaraKulja) have been taken over by the Opposition–the new government, that is.” [It doesn’t seem that Osh is pro Bakiev- so this shouldn’t be a problem.]

PRAY:
– for peace and an end to violence
– for good and just government to come out of this

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