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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kyrgyz Protesters Seize Osh Headquarters

OSH, Kyrgyzstan — Supporters of ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev seized control of government buildings in three southern regions of Kyrgyzstan on Thursday in an apparent coup attempt.

Bakiyev supporters seized control of government buildings in the cities of Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken, kidnapped the governor of Jalal-Abad and tried to take control of the area's main airport in Osh, witnesses and officials said.

"The interim government views today's events in Osh … as an attempt by former President Bakiyev's associates to regain power," government spokesman Farid Niyazov said, Interfax reported.

There were no reports of deaths, but the unrest was the biggest challenge to the interim government, formed last month after a popular revolt topped Bakiyev from power and forced him to flee to Belarus.

Belarus, whose President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to extradite Bakiyev to face charges in Kyrgyzstan, announced on Thursday that all of its diplomats had left the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, "for security reasons."

Russia and the United States, which both have military bases in Kyrgyzstan, have backed the interim government. It was not immediately clear how they would respond to Thursday's events.

"We are receiving information and are trying to understand what is happening," said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Roza Otunbayeva, who leads the Kyrgyz interim government, vowed to foil any coup attempt and promised to restore law and order.

"We have what it takes to dispel the fear existing among the public," she said, Interfax reported.

The government dispatched Defense Minister Ismail Isakov to Osh to try to quell the revolt, but it was not immediately clear what resources he had at his disposal.

In Jalal-Abad, Interfax reported that Bakiyev supporters had broken into the regional administration building and placed a portrait of the former president on the front.

Several hundred people were in and around the building, and police were not intervening.

A Reuters witness in Osh said supporters of Bakiyev scuffled with guards and entered the government building after holding a demonstration that drew about 1,000 people.

There were conflicting reports about who controlled the Osh airport.