The day after ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled Kyrgyzstan, his southern stronghold was calm following days of tension and uncertainty.
Bakiyev flew to Kazakhstan on April 15 after Bishkek's caretaker government negotiated a deal allowing him safe passage. He had been in the Bakiyev family house in the village of Teyit on the outskirts of Jalal-Abad since leaving Bishkek on April 7 amid political violence that left at least 83 dead.
A small group of Bakiyev followers gathered in his family house on April 16 to show moral support for the deposed leader. The house remained guarded by a group of young men, but inhabitants have surrendered their weapons.
Law enforcement officials visited in the morning and made an offer, Kanybek Bakiyev, one of the ousted leader's five brothers, said. "[They said:] 'So there is no blood, give up your weapons and we guarantee you security. We will not storm here,'" he explained, sitting in a yurt in the Bakiyev household's courtyard as supporters listened to speeches outside.
Former chief of the Presidential Guard, Janybek Bakiyev, who is wanted by the interim authorities, has left the house and moved to another district within Kyrgyzstan, his brother said.
Around 50 people were present in the courtyard, a fraction of the 1,000 who rallied for Bakiyev in Teyit three days earlier. Most of those at the house believed it was still possible for Bakiyev to make a comeback. "Bakiyev was president and he will be [again], god willing," one of the supporters, a carpenter from Bazar-Kurgan in Osh Region who gave his name as Asilbek, told EurasiaNet.org.
Kanybek Bakiyev said there would be negotiations on his brother's future in Kazakhstan, adding that a compromise deal with the caretaker government could make his return possible, but he did not rule out Bakiyev settling abroad. Observers doubt the former president will be permitted to return, at least in the medium term.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev - who likes to portray himself as a leader with clout on the international stage - was making the most of the PR opportunity afforded by Astana's role in arranging Bakiyev's exile without further bloodshed.
"Since all states were very at this situation, at meetings in Washington [during last week's nuclear summit] everyone was interested in our position, as a neighboring country," he told a briefing on April 16 in remarks quoted by Interfax-Kazakhstan. "The three of us, Barack Obama and Dmitriy Medvedev and I, consulted and they asked me to deal with this and keep them informed, which I did."
Nazarbayev also talked up Astana's role as this year's Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chairman, saying Kazakhstan had prevented "a clash between the South and the North [of Kyrgyzstan]" and "carried out a good mission for the OSCE."
At the Bakiyev family home, his followers were adamant that they want Bakiyev back, saying they would find a president from the opposition hard to accept. "I'll go and voice [my opposition] to [interim leader] Roza Otunbayeva's face. If they want to shoot me they can," Gulya Kolbayeva, a pensioner from Jalal-Abad, told EurasiaNet.org. "When they talk on the television I feel so bad that I want to throw the television on the floor."
After Bakiyev's departure, though, many believe that what support he does have in the South is likely to fade if the interim government reaches out to bridge divides.
Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asian affairs.