Kyrgyzstan kills suspected Islamist militants
Security forces in Kyrgyzstan have killed three men they believe were militants from an Islamist group, a state security official said on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Earlier this week the Central Asian state said five militants had been killed in a gunbattle in the southern town of Jalal-Abad in which one state security officer was also killed.
It said the militants belonged to the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) which ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, home to a U.S military air base since 2001, has been battling off and on since 1999.
A state security official who asked not to be named said its forces killed the three militants on Saturday night in a village in the Osh region, also in the south near the border with Uzbekistan.
"According to preliminary data three militants have been killed. Most likely they were terrorists from the group destroyed in Jalal-Abad," the official told Reuters.
Another source, a law enforcement official in the Osh region who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the suspected militants responded to a surrender demand with pistol shots and threw hand grenades.
He said they were staying at an abandoned building, prompting their neighbours to alert the police. Several other militants are thought to have been with those gunned down.
"Two of them ran out of the house and have been detained," the official said, adding that one of them was a woman and their identities were currently being established.
He said another man who came out of the building blew himself up after being wounded by a sniper.
The IMU, founded in 1998 and believed to be allied with Afghanistan's Taliban, conducted several raids in Kyrgyzstan in 1999 and 2000, holding entrenched positions for months.
In 2006, Kyrgyz security forces reported killing several IMU members in a special operation. No attacks involving the IMU members have been reported in the last two years in Kyrgyzstan.
But last month, Uzbekistan's security forces blamed the IMU for attacks in Khanabad, a small town close to the Kyrgyzstan border, in which one policeman died and another was injured.
Western security analysts say the IMU was largely wiped out during U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan but some have pointed to a possible rise in its activity in recent months alongside a parallel resurgence in Taliban operations.