Kyrgyzstan says its citizens in Russia are targeted by militant recruiters

(Reuters) – Kyrgyz people working in Russia are being actively targeted by recruiters of militant groups who want them to carry out violent acts, Kyrgyzstan’s labour ministry said on Thursday.

Seven suspects from Tajikistan and one from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan have been arrested in connection with Friday’s mass shooting at a concert hall near Moscow.

Hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan work in Russia, and the Kyrgyz labour ministry said militant recruiters were targeting them via social networks, messaging apps and dating websites.

Last week’s attack by camouflague-clad gunmen has fanned anti-immigrant sentiment in Russia, especially towards labourers from the mainly Muslim former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

Kyrgyzstan’s government this week urged its citizens not to travel to Russia unless necessary, and so has Uzbekistan, another big source of migrant labourers in Russia.

Islamic State has said it was responsible for the attack and has released video footage of the massacre, in which at least 143 people were killed. Russia, without providing evidence, has said it suspects a Ukrainian link in the attack, something Kyiv strongly denies.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Ros Russell)


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