Nariman (Kyrgyzstan): Thousands of ethnic
Uzbek refugees remained stranded in Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday, unable
to reach Uzbekistan after Tashkent closed its border to people
fleeing a deadly conflict.
Babies wailed under the beating sun, their mothers
struggling to shield them in the shade of blankets and calm
them with soothing words but unable to evacuate them out of
the country to the relative safety of Uzbekistan.
An elderly Uzbek woman wearing a traditional blue dress
with a white flower print wailed uncontrollably as she kneeled
on the rubbish-strewn ground, praying for an end to the chaos
enveloping this impoverished nation.
"Please help us!" one woman in the crowd pleaded. "What
do we have to do to get out of here?"
Although Uzbekistan has now sealed its border with its
neighbour, saying it was unable to cope with the influx of
perhaps more than 100,000 refugees, wounded were still being
allowed through the porous border in small numbers.
An AFP reporter witnessed a group of people lift up a
barbed-wire fence and pass a stretcher bearing a badly wounded
man underneath the wire into Uzbekistan, under the watch of
Uzbek border guards who allowed him to pass.