Religious extremism serious threat to Kyrgyzstan - prosecutor

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan - Kyrgyz Prosecutor General Kambaraly Kongantiyev has warned that organized criminal groups are merging with terrorist and religious extremist organizations.

The Kyrgyz Security Council, chaired by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, convened on Monday to discuss the crime situation in the country.

"Organized transnational criminal groups account for a large share of international crime. Terrorist organizations are merging with such criminal associations," the prosecutor general said.

"Religious extremism is a serious threat to the country's security," Kongantiyev said. "Whereas in the late 1990s extremist organizations were active only in southern Kyrgyzstan and were comprised mainly of ethnic Uzbeks, religious extremism since 2000 has been becoming evermore prevalent in the north," he said.

"Previously, extremist organizations disseminated their literature in the Uzbek and Arabic languages. Today, extremist religious organizations are openly campaigning for change in the secular constitutional system and for the forming of an Islamic state in the Ferghana Valley," he added.

"Measures being taken by law enforcement agencies are insufficient for stopping extremist organizations' activities. This mission must be performed primarily by the country's special services," said Kongantiyev.