Kyrgyzstan special forces attempt to storm former president's mansion

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Source: VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO / AFP

Kyrgyzstan special forces have stormed the home of the country's former president Almazbek Atambayev in an attempt to take him into custody, according to Russian state media TASS.

Dramatic images apparently taken from inside the former president's mansion on Wednesday evening show supporters holding off troops with shotguns.

There are conflicting reports as to the current whereabouts of the former leader, with Russian state media reporting that Atambayev has been detained and taken to an “unknown location.”

Atambayev was stripped of his presidential immunity by the central Asian nation's parliament in June, after accusations of corruption and illegal land acquisition while in office.

At the time, the former president said the charges against him were “nonsense and rubbish” and that he would resist any attempts to arrest him.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met last month with Atambayev. In a press appearance confirming the visit, Putin stressed Moscow's interest in Kyrgyzstan's “political stability” and avoiding new popular uprisings.

According to Kyrgyz news agency Kabar, at least 15 people were injured when special forces attempted to raid Atambayev's resident in the village of Koi-Tash in northern Kyrgyzstan, near the capital Bishkek.

Kabar said Atambayev had been summoned for questioning three times by the Ministry of Internal Affairs but had ignored the requests.

“During the operation, special forces soldiers did not use military weapons. The soldiers were equipped only with rubber bullets,” the State Committee's press service said, according to Kabar Atambayev was the president of Kyrgyzstan from December 2011 until November 2017.

After he left office, the government created a special commission that concluded he could have been involved in 6 crimes during his presidency, according to Kabar.

They include suspected corruption during the reconstruction of the capital city's thermal power station and the unlawful requisition of land to build his residential house.

Kyrgyzstan's sitting president Sooronbay Jeenbekov has reportedly cut his vacation short and was headed back to Bishkek, Kabar reported citing the president's press service.