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Kyrgyzstan vows probe into ethnic violence

Last Updated: Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 23:34

Bishkek: Kyrgyzstan`s interim government
promised a top US envoy today that it will investigate deadly
ethnic clashes as fears grew of fresh violence in the volatile

Officials and aid agencies say the clashes between
Kyrgyz and Uzbeks have killed up to 2,000 people and affected
up to one million, including 300,000 people displaced in
Kyrgyzstan and 100,000 who have fled to neighbouring

The United Nations said today it was stepping up aid to
the region after issuing an urgent appeal for humanitarian

After meeting with Kyrgyzstan`s acting government, US
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian
Affairs Robert Blake said investigations into the violence
would be essential to create conditions for the safe return
of refugees and the internally displaced.

"Members of the provisional government assured me of
their intention to launch an investigation into the causes of
the violence.... Such an investigation should be complemented
by an international investigation by a credible international
body," Blake told journalists here.

"Is it important for the provisional government to
establish an atmosphere of trust and security so the refugees
in Uzbekistan and the internally displaced persons in
Kyrgyzstan can feel confident that they can return to
their homes," he said.

Kyrgyzstan`s interim leader Roza Otunbayeva admitted
Friday that the death toll from the clashes was probably 2,000
-- 10 times the official estimate of 192.

The World Food Programme said it would step up its aid
to the region and from tomorrow will airlift 110 tons of high
energy biscuits from its warehouse in Dubai to Osh in southern
Kyrgyzstan and Andijan, Uzbekistan.

"With a huge number of people displaced by the
conflict, and thousands more trapped without food, water or
supplies, there`s not a moment to lose," the UN agency`s
executive director Josette Sheeran said in a statement.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said yesterday the UN was
launching a 71-million-dollar humanitarian appeal for
Kyrgyzstan and that a separate appeal for Uzbekistan
would be instigated next week.

Ban cited "shortages of food, water and electricity in
the affected areas, due to looting, lack of supply, and
restrictions on movement" and said hospitals were running low
on medical supplies.

In Osh, the southern city at the centre of the unrest,
residents said they were bracing for new violence after
Otunbayeva promised that makeshift barricades around Uzbek
neighbourhoods would be removed.


First Published: Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 23:34

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