Members of the Islamic Movement of Turkestan (formerly the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) were involved in a series of terrorist attacks in Kyrgyzstan in December 2002 and May 2003.
This statement was made by Boris Poluektov, deputy chief of the National Security Service, at a news conference on Tuesday.
"The blasts in the town of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan this May and at the Dordoi market in Bishkek last December, which killed eight and injured more than 40 people, are the work of rebels of the Islamic Movement of Turkestan," Poluektov said. He added that "the investigation has compelling evidence to this effect."
He said that a number of people detained in southern Kyrgyzstan in May for their suspected role in these crimes received training in rebel camps in Chechnya and Afghanistan.
He noted that by assuming a new name, the organization has sent a clear message that it is going to expand its activities over the whole Central Asian region.
Poluektov said that emissaries of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir religious political party have stepped up their operations in Kyrgyzstan. "The party has being working hard to spread its influence from the country's south to the north, particularly over the past three or four years," he added.
"The republic's security services are seriously concerned about the fact that this party's ideas are becoming increasingly popular about socially-vulnerable sections of the population, primarily among the young," he said.
"We are surprised at the position taken by the republic's Muslim Spiritual Board, which is lenient or even indifferent to what is happening," he noted.
Poluektov suggested that this issue requires a response from local authorities and broad media coverage.
According to the National Security Service, more than 50 criminal cases have been opened against religious extremists since the beginning the year. Some 30 people were detained in May alone.
Interfax, June 24, 2003