Bishkek Mayor Detained As Kyrgyz Power Feud Continues

BISHKEK -- The mayor of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, has been detained on corruption charges.

The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) said on July 19 that Mayor Albek Ibraimov was detained on suspicion of financial irregularities and illegal property sales.

Following the UKMK's announcement, Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev signed a decree dismissing Ibraimov.

Last week, when Ibraimov was on vacation, Bishkek city council members passed a vote of no confidence against him.

Earlier this month, Ibraimov's deputy, Renat Makenov, was arrested on charges of abuse of office.

Ibraimov, who had been mayor since 2016, is a close ally of former President Almazbek Atambaev.

Former Prime Ministers Jantoro Satybaldiev and Sapar Isakov, who served during Atambaev's tenure, were arrested last month in connection with a corruption case.

In April, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov fired several of Atambaev's allies, including Prosecutor-General Indira Joldubaeva and UKMK head Abdil Segizbaev, who had been criticized for a crackdown on opposition politicians and independent journalists.

The pressure on Atambaev's allies is seen as evidence of a rift between Atambaev and Jeenbekov, an ex-prime minister who was tapped by Atambaev as his favored successor in the October 2017 presidential election but who has clashed with his former boss in recent months.

Atambaev, who was limited to a single six-year term by the constitution, initially kept a low profile after leaving office in November. But following his election as head of the ruling Social Democratic Party on March 31, he has publicly criticized Jeenbekov.