Kyrgyzstan says kills suspected Islamist militant
Police in Kyrgyzstan shot dead a suspected Islamist militant who threw a grenade at them in the latest in a rash of armed clashes that has shattered a three-year lull, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Kyrgyzstan says it believes a resurgence of violence is connected to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group it fought from the late 1990s until 2006. The IMU seeks an Islamic state in the fertile Central Asian Fergana Valley, which is divided between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Interior Ministry spokesman Rakhmatillo Akhmedov said police found the suspected militant on Monday while searching a sunflower field close to the scene of a fire fight that killed three suspected rebels on Saturday in the south of the country.
Kyrgyzstan has said eight militants were killed in two gunfights with security forces last week.
Western security analysts say the IMU was largely wiped out during U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan but some link a rise in its activity to a parallel resurgence in Taliban operations in recent months.
Kyrgyzstan, a poverty stricken country of 5 million people that is home to a U.S. military air base, borders Uzbekistan, which in turn borders Afghanistan.