Reeling from bloody clashes in its southern regions, Kyrgyzstan on Thursday threatened to shut a key U.S. airbase if Britain refused to extradite ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's son who is accused of instigating the violence.
Mr. Bakiyev's younger son Maxim was detained in London where he arrived on Tuesday to seek political asylum.
Deputy Premier in the interim government of Kyrgyzstan Azimbek Beknazarov told a press conference in the capital Bishkek that Britain was just as interested in keeping the airbase near Bishkek open as the U.S. and should therefore extradite junior Bakiyev. Kyrgyz authorities are also seeking extradition of the former President who has fled to Belarus, but the latter has refused.
The official death toll from inter-ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan rose to 191 on Thursday, but intelligence sources were quoted as saying that at least 1,800 people were killed in four days of riots targeting Uzbek residents in Osh and Jalal-Abad. According to revised U.N. estimates, 4,00,000 people have fled the fighting.