Assassination Attempt on Edil Baisalov

by Nathan Hamm on 4/12/2006 · 10 comments

I think that the headline of this report sums up the situation pretty nicely: ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT IN KYRGYZSTAN UNDERSCORES SLIDE TOWARD INSTABILITY. The assassination attempt certainly is an exclamation point to my last post on Kyrgyzstan. From the EurasiaNet story:

The attack against Edil Baisalov — head of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, a Bishkek non-governmental organization – occurred as he was leaving the organization’s offices in central Bishkek at approximately 6 pm local time. He suffered a wound in the back of his head, but doctors could not immediately determine whether the wound was caused by a bullet, or by a blunt object. The lone assailant, who was not immediately apprehended, was described as a “young man of Kyrgyz nationality,” the AKIpress news agency reported.

Witnesses to the incident reported hearing a bang, as if a pistol, possibly equipped with a silencer, had gone off. Baisalov, who only briefly lost consciousness, was quoted by AKIpress as saying, “It was a clap. There is a hole [in my head], but I am alive.” After suffering the wound, Baisalov’s driver hustled him into his car and sped off to a nearby hospital. Doctor’s now believe Baisalov’s life is not threatened, but say the wound will require extensive treatment.

Baisalov, who is also a blogger as I’ve mentioned a few times already, has been very vocal in his opposition to Ryspek Akmatbaev’s candidacy and organized a protest earlier in the week calling on the government to tackle organize crime.

Prime Minister Kulov visited Baisalov in the hospital and said that the assassination attempt sends a clear political message.

It appears in various stories and in a very brief AKIpress item that Baisalov believed himself to be in danger and requested police protection a few days ago. It was, however, denied.

Links to other coverage:

Photo: AP/AKIpress, Azamat Imanaliev

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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squid123 April 12, 2006 at 6:52 pm

This is especially worrisome. Up to now, all this gang-style warfare has involved businessmen and politicians fighting over resources and avenging previous grudges. Is it now open season on unaffiliated critics and NGO activists? If so, this launches a whole new escalation in Kyrgyzstan’s political unraveling, and it’s a very, very bad sign for democracy, regardless of who tried to assassinate Baisalov.

Curzon April 12, 2006 at 7:00 pm

That’s an awful picture. Glad the guy is still alive.

I maintain that my original prediction on Kyrgyzstan’s revolution will prove correct in the end…

Laurence April 13, 2006 at 1:13 pm

Nathan, Thank you for posting this important story. Kulov’s visit to Baisalov sends a strong signal. Did the American ambassador visit him? Was Richard Boucher in Bishkek at the time? Have we offered FBI help in the investigation? Maybe some Registan readers know the answers…

David April 13, 2006 at 2:57 pm

Boucher was in Bishkek at the time, I don’t know whether the Amb. visited though. Offering the FBI might be a fairly bad move politically. Baisalov gets called a CIA agent enough without that as well. This is mainly a political issue. There’s another demo planned for 29 April, I think. This time there could be a much bigger turnout.

Brian April 13, 2006 at 5:25 pm

An anti-Ryspek demo? I suppose the best that could be hoped for is that this causes some kind of backlash against Ryspek.

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