Monday, November 29, 1999

UN says 400,000 Uzbeks have fled Kyrgyzstan

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London, June 18 (ANI): The United Nations has said that about 400,000 displaced Uzbeks have fled from ethnic riot-hit southern Kyrgyzstan.According to The Telegraph, the new UN assessment highlights the severity of the crisis on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.It claims that the Kyrgyz military has run into difficulties in its effort to restore order to the region, where over two million people live.At least 180 have been killed in clashes between Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks over the past week.The behavior of the army and police during the past week's violence is a major grievance among Uzbeks, who accuse the security forces of letting Kyrgyz mobs run wild for several days, and in many cases, of taking part in the mayhem and slaughter themselves.While Uzbeks make up nearly half the region's population, almost all soldiers and police here are ethnic Kyrgyz.Investigators had not identified any soldiers or police involved in the violence and suggested that those who organized the riots had distributed uniforms and weapons to the mobs.Kyrgyzstan's shaky interim government has accused the deposed president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, and his family of triggering the riots by paying gunmen to attack Kyrgyz and Uzbek neighborhoods. (ANI)

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