BISHKEK, (Kyrgyzstan): Kyrgyzstan on Saturday put its former president Almazbek Atambayev back in jail while a populist politician, Sadyr Japarov, became acting prime minister as an ongoing political crisis rocked the Central Asian country. Protests over a disputed parliamentary election on Sunday developed into violent clashes, during which supporters freed prominent prisoners including Atambayev and Japarov.
Incumbent president Sooronbay Jeenbekov had appeared to reassert control on Saturday following a week of unrest during which he promised to stand down. Atambayev was rearrested Saturday on suspicion of organising mass disorder, along with one of his bodyguards and another accomplice, the state national security committee said. The committee was currently "identifying and arresting other accomplices of this crime", it said.
Atambayev was serving an 11-year sentence for his role in the illegal release of a crime boss when his supporters freed him on Monday. Atambayev's spokeswoman Kunduz Joldubayeva also confirmed his arrest, telling AFP by telephone that "special forces stormed (Atambayev's) compound" outside Bishkek.
"They arrested the former president," Joldubayeva said. Shortly afterwards, a majority of lawmakers voted for Japarov, a headstrong populist, as acting prime minister during an extraordinary session of the parliament.
Japarov said he expected Jeenbekov to honour a pledge to resign once a government had been formed, which the president made as clashes between rival groups escalated on Friday.
"I met with him here at the state residency. He said that after confirming the cabinet and government structures, he would resign," Japarov said at his confirmation. Japarov said he did not plan changes to the cabinet immediately, but would appoint young ministers in the future.