BISHKEK. The Kyrgyz interior ministry today informed journalists on the preliminary results of the investigation over the Bishkek-Torugart highway tragedy that occurred in the early morning of March 27 near the Sarybulak village in the Kochkor district of the remote mountainous Naryn region. Deputy minister of interior affairs, Rasulberdi Rayimberdiev, and the head of the investigation department of the ministry, Maken Turdugulov, told journalists today during the press conference, that twenty one people aboard the Chinese passenger bus, including four drivers, were killed by unknown armed people. 20 of the murdered people were the Chinese citizens, mainly the ethnic Uighurs from Sinkiang. The citizenship of one passenger, apparently without official ticket, is not clear yet.
Forensic specialists found some spent cases from machine-gun bullets. Two wrist-watches found in the bus, had stopped between 4:10 to 4:15 on 27 March. It is likely that the robbery attack took place at around 4 a.m. in Bishkek time, the officials said.
The robbers armed with machine-guns, killed the passengers and drivers and then set fire at the bus.
It is not clear whether the robbers had some insiders on the bus to stop it in a defined place or not. Kyrgyz officials so far refused to connect the attack with any political motivation, saying that the murder might be just a robbery.
Separatists forces of Uighur movement struggling for Eastern Turkestan's independence, comprised both political and military groups. Some Uighur separatists had support from the notorious "Al-Kaeda" terrorist network of Osama Ben Laden.
Yesterday, the Kyrgyz foreign ministry sent a letter of condolence to the Chinese foreign ministry over the Sarybulak tragedy.