5 alleged IMU militants killed in Kyrgyzstan
Security forces have killed at least five militants allegedly from the Islamic Movement for Uzbekistan (IMU) in western Kyrgyzstan, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.

This was one of the worst incidents to hit Kyrgyz districts in Ferghana Valley -- a poor region sprawling across the three Central Asian (CA) countries, which has been a centre of continuous ethnic and religious strife.

Troops surrounded a house outside Jalalabad on Monday and tried to arrest a group of fighters allegedly from the IMU, the ministry said. The forces met stiff resistance from the militants who were armed with machine guns and explosives, it said.

At least five militants and a security official were killed in the shootout. Another official was wounded in the clash, the ministry said. The National Security Ministry said the militants might have come from outside Kyrgyzstan.

The shootout took place after a series of violent incidents in Ferghana, which spreads across the ex-Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Last month, gunmen attacked an Uzbek border post near Kyrgyzstan, stoking tensions between the two CA nations. Uzbek officials said a suicide bomber later killed a police official in a separate attack in a nearby town. In the past years, Kyrgyzstan has suffered a series of incursions and bombings blamed on radical Islamic groups that have grown popular in CA since the fall of Soviet Union in 1991.
Posted by: Fred 2009-06-24