Kyrgyz citizen held in migrant roundup after Magnitogorsk blasts


BISHKEK -- Russian police detained a Kyrgyz migrant in connection with a deadly blast last month in Magnitogorsk city, reported Friday.

An explosion on December 31 at an apartment building killed 39 people, including eight Tajiks from two families.

The disaster was widely attributed to a gas leak, but subsequent raids on migrant workers' residences have fueled rumours that the blast was a terrorist act.

Husniddin Zainobiddinov, 29, a native of Kyrgyzstan, was arrested for his suspected involvement in the explosion but could be extradited to Kyrgyzstan to face older charges there, according to Russian media.

Police tried to torture Zainobiddinov into confessing to blowing up the apartment building, but when he refused to sign a confession, the local prosecutor's office drew up documents to extradite him to Kyrgyzstan, his wife told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Zainobiddinov was wanted internationally for alleged crimes in Kyrgyzstan, including inciting ethnic hatred and organising mass riots in June 2010, according to Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security (GKNB).

He lived in Bazar-Korgon District, Jalal-Abad Province, and left Kyrgyzstan eight years ago, said the GKNB.

The apartment blast took place a day before a minibus exploded January 1 in Magnitogorsk's square, killing three people. That blast stemmed from a defective gas cylinder, according to officials.

"Islamic State" (IS) in mid-January claimed responsibility for both explosions.

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