Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier-Walker met Bakiyev in the south and found him in a defiant mood
Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the ousted president of Kyrgyzstan, has strongly urged the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force to the country, arguing that the nation’s police and the military were now too weak to keep unrest from spreading.
A violent uprising last week ousted Bakiyev’s government and forced him to flee to the south of the country, while Roza Otunbayeva, the self-declared interim leader, has been bidding to secure her leadership.
Otunbayeva said on Tuesday that Bakiyev may be offered incentives to leave the country after he threatened “bloodshed” if any attempt to arrest him was made.
Speaking after a meeting with European Union representatives in the capital Bishkek on Monday, Otunbayeva said Bakiyev had to realise that “there is no way out of this deadlock”.
Almazbek Atambayev, the deputy chief of the self-declared interim government, said at the weekend that an operation to arrest Bakiyev was being organised.
But Bakiyev said in response to the statement: “Let them try to seize me. Let them try to destroy me. This attempt will lead to so much blood no one will be able to justify.”
About 500 people gathered in a muddy field in Bakiyev’s native village of Teyit on Monday to show support for him.
Bakiyev has refused to resign as president and Monday’s rally brought an array of speakers who vowed their support and waved banners with slogans such as “Hands off the legitimate president”.
Bakiyev fled to his native southern region on Wednesday after confrontations between police and protesters exploded into gunfire and chaos in the capital and protesters stormed government buildings.
At least 81 people died in the clashes.
For her part, Otunbayeva also met on Monday the US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Tatiana Gfoeller, who reaffirmed the US’ commitment to the country.
At the same time, the US announced that its Manas airbase there – the only US military base in Central Asia – would be resuming full operations, transporting US troops to and from Afghanistan.
Robert Blake, the US assistant secretary of state, is to travel to Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday for talks that are to include the long-term status of the base.
Alleged corruption by members of the Bakiyev family, including enriching themselves through fuel contracts for the base, was one of the major issues that brought out protesters last week.
In other developments, the interim Kyrgyz leadership on Monday announced the dismissal of Kyrgyzstan’s ambassadors to the US, Germany, Russia and Turkey.
But the ambassador to Russia, Raimkul Attakurov, rejected the order, telling the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that he would leave only on Bakiyev’s order.
Kyrgyzstan’s society is strongly clan-based, but there are few signs that Bakiyev will gain enough support in the south to challenge the self-declared interim government.
Some analysts say that a jump in utility prices and massive corruption had set many against Bakiyev.