Kyrgyzstan's former president arrested at the second attempt

Kyrgyzstan's former President Almazbek Atambayev surrendered to security forces at his residence near the capital city of Bishkek on Thursday.

Outbreaks of violence occurred on Wednesday after a soldier was killed in a botched effort to arrest him.

Atambayev was eventually detained by security forces at his home in the village of Koi-Tash just 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Bishkek. A police statement said Atambayev "will be delivered to the relevant authorities for further investigative measures."

President Sooronbai Jeenbekov claimed Atambayev was to blame for a "grave crime" after violent clashes were provoked by the previous day's events.

Parliament took away Atambayev's right to immunity from prosecution earlier this year, in the midst of allegations of corruption. However, the former president says those accusations are politically motivated.

Background to the feud

Atambayev is a former ally of Jeenbekov and even aided the current imbumbent's rise to power, but their relationship has since turned sour as expert for the region Arkadij Dubnow, explains the battle of wills.

"The two proud men should finally clarify among themselves who stands above whom — the former president, who brought the current president to power, or the current president, who does not want to listen to the previous one. The whole country is at stake."

"He [Atambayev] invented for himself the sacred status of the father of the nation. He sees himself as a kind of Kyrgyz Türkmenbasy [Turkmenistan's autocratic leader from 1985 to 2006, Saparmurat Niyazov — editor's note]. And this is reinforced by his not exactly balanced mental state," Dubnov tells DW. "He is a person who does not react appropriately to developments around him, and who overestimates his own importance in his country's post-Soviet era. He talks faster than he thinks. I have known him for many years, at least 10 or more."

Almasbek Atambayev is considered the representative of the northern region and Sooronbay Sheenbekov of the southern.

"Another problem is that Kyrgyzstan is a tribalist country and behind all the personal antipathies there is, in one way or another, the opposition of the northern and southern clans."

jsi/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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