Osh, January 21, Interfax - Police in southern Kyrgyzstan expect the local population to help in exposing religious extremists and other people who have returned home after fighting in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, Suyun Omurzakov, the chief of the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry department for Osh and the Osh Region, told Interfax on Thursday.
"If the public doesn't assist the law enforcement agencies in exposing religious extremists, which are trying to undermine stability in our region in any way they can, police themselves would find it hard to timely detect and neutralize all of them," Omurzakov said.
Several groups linked to terrorists fighting in Syria have been detained in the course of special operations conducted in southern Kyrgyzstan over the past several months, and a large amount of weapons, ammunition, and materials for manufacturing explosives were seized from them, he said.
"Among those detained were people who have returned from Syria and also those who have prepared to commit terrorist attacks here. We managed to neutralize them timely. The detection and detention of other members of the religious extremist group is continuing," he said.
Security in southern Kyrgyzstan may further be endangered, because, "following the active airstrikes upon terrorist bases in Syria, militants have started fleeing from there and returning home," Omurzakov said.
"Our citizens who are fighting there now will also be returning, but they will be not simply returning but will be instructed to sow chaos and undermine stability in the region through committing terrorist attacks. We are preparing for this and are detaining their accomplices," he said.
As the number of terrorist attacks in the world has grown, the Kyrgyz interior minister has ordered to put all personnel on alert from mid-January until further notice, and security has been tightened at all strategic sites and crowded places, he said.
The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry reports that 508 Kyrgyz citizens, most of them coming from the southern part of the country, have left abroad to fight for international terrorist groups.