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BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan’s ex-president Almazbek Atambayev was plotting to overthrow the government before he was detained in raids on his compound last week, the country’s security services alleged on Tuesday.

Last week’s arrest of Atambayev, who was president from 2011 to 2017, has raised fears of new political turmoil in the Central Asian nation.

Kyrgyz authorities are now investigating Atam­bayev for violence and organising riots, in addition to five existing criminal cases against him — all of which could potentially amount to a long prison sentence.

The ex-leader was seized in a massive security operation on Thursday after an attempt to detain him the day before sparked deadly clashes between his supporters and law enforcement.

“He wanted bloodshed. His intention was a state coup,” Orozbek Opumbayev, the head of the national security services (GKNB), told a news conference in Bishkek.

The head of the state prosecutor’s investigations department said Atambayev would also be probed for organising attempted murder, after one law enforcement officer died in the clashes last week.

“Atambayev is suspected of using violence against government officials, organising riots, and organising attempted murders,” Zamir Beishekeev said.

Kyrgyzstan’s chief of police said that the clashes left 170 injured — mostly servicemen, of whom two remain in critical condition.

Kyrgyzstan, which has seen two revolutions in less than two decades, is caught in a standoff between Atambayev and his protege-turned-foe President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

A court on Thursday ordered Atambayev to be held in pre-trial detention until August 26, a period that can be extended by another court order.

Some 120 items of property belonging to him have been confiscated by the court, prosecutors said.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2019