37 killed, 500 injured in Kyrgyz-Uzbek ethnic clashes

Last Updated: Friday, June 11, 2010 - 21:34

Moscow: At least 37 people were killed
and over 500 injured in Kyrgyz-Uzbek ethnic clashes in south
Kyrgyzstan, a stronghold of deposed president Kurmanbek
Bakiyev, prompting the interim government to declare a state
of emergency in the Central Asian nation.

Kyrgyzstan hosts US and Russian military bases. The
interim government, which came to power on April 7, has
declared a state of emergency in ethnic clashes involving
Uzbek minority in southern Osh region of the country, last
night. Police and Army have been ordered to open fire.
"I have declared a state of emergency in our Southern
Capital (Osh)", acting President Rosa Otunbayeva said in her
televised statement.

Otunbayeva said the rioting erupted after clashes
between the youth groups of the two communities and spread
over the whole of Osh, the second largest city and
neighbouring districts of Karasu,
Aravan and Uzgen.

She said after the local government lost control over
the situation army was called in to restore the law and order
and curfew was in place.

Russian agencies report that shops and business owned
by ethnic Uzbeks were looted and set on fire.

Buildings of two theatres including Uzbek Babar Drama
Theatre were set on fire. The Russian Foreign Ministry
expressed Moscow`s concern over deadly clashes in southern
Kyrgyzstan.

"We are concerned over the outbreak of violence in
Kyrgyzstan and express our condolences to the relatives of
those who died," deputy spokesman of ministry Igor
Lyakin-Frolov said.

At least 37 people were killed and over 500 injured
in the clashes that appears to have taken authorities by
surprise and has thrown the fragile interim government`s
prospects for survival into doubt, TV reports said.

The rioting coincided with the opening of Shanghai
Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Tashkent, capital of
neighbouring Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ruled out
military intervention by Moscow-led Collective Security Pact
Organisation (CSTO) in Kyrgyzstan saying the situation in the
Central Asian republic, a member of this security bloc, does
not require such response.

"The criteria for the use of CSTO joint force are
the violation of the external borders of by a foreign
aggressor or non-state actors.
In other words, about the attempt to grab power by
external forces, which is seen as an attack on entire CSTO.

So far this is not the case.

All the problems faced by Kyrgyzstan today are rooted
inside the country," Medvedev was quoted as saying by
Interfax.

Speaking at the summit Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev announced that SCO is sending a monitoring mission to
Kyrgyzstan, which is a founder-member of the regional grouping
led by Russia and China.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation
in Europe called for calm in the wake of ethnic clashes in
southern Kyrgyzstan.

"I call on all parties to refrain from violence and
to resolve the existing problems through dialogue and
compromise," Kanat Saudabayev, Kazahkstan`s foreign minister
and acting president of the regional body, said in a
statement.

In the past at several occasions Russia and China
have conducted joint military drills to cope with situations
like the current volatile situation in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan hosts US and Russian military bases also.
The US base is vital for the American and NATO forces which
are fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

PTI



First Published: Friday, June 11, 2010 - 21:34

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