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Monday, August 21, 2006

Kyrgyzstan Calls Upon Militants To Disarm

Kyrgyzstan's National Security Service (SNB) has called upon Islamic militants in the southern Osh Region to lay down their weapons by September 1.

Kyrgyz media today quote a SNB statement as saying those who would refuse to disarm would be "harshly punished."

The statement says the call is primarily addressed to members of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan -- also known as the Islamic Movement of Turkestan -- radical Islamic groupings.

An August 19 report by Russia's Interfax news agency says the SNB is offering 100,000 soms ($2,500) to any one who would help locate underground militants.

Kyrgyz authorities a few weeks ago launched a large-scale security operation they say is aimed at uprooting Islamic groupings in the country's south.

Rights groups and opposition leaders have accused the government of cooperating with Uzbek security services in the fight against religious dissent.

Kyrgyzstan on August 9 deported to Uzbekistan four UN refugees and one asylum seeker who were wanted in their home country for their alleged participation in the May 2005 Andijon unrest.

The move drew harsh international criticism.

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