At least 65 died as Kyrgyz authorities work to end unrest


Kyrgyzstan’s interim government on Saturday worked to quell an upsurge of ethnic violence that killed 65 people and injured more than 500 others.

The government said it declared one state of emergency in Osh, where fierce fighting between ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz youths broke out Thursday night and led to mass rioting. Another state of emergency was imposed in the city of Jalal-Abad in order to keep the unrest from spreading there, it said.

Extra army and police units had been dispatched and a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew has been imposed in several districts of southern Kyrgyzstan until June 20, the government said.

The Kyrgyz interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, has asked for Russian peacekeepers to help end the unrest, the result of interethnic tensions that have been brewing for weeks.

Otunbayeva, in quotes passed along by the interim government spokesman, said Saturday that the situation has gotten “out of control” and and “we need outside military forces to solve the situation.”

But President Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman said humanitarian aid and not troops are being rushed to the area at present, the Kremlin said.

“This is an internal conflict and Russia does not yet see the conditions for its participating in resolving it,” spokeswoman Natalya Timakhova was quoted as saying by the Kremlin press service.

Timakhova said the president intends to evacuate the injured.

Otunbayeva on Saturday discussed the unrest in a phone call with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and Moscow police have reinforced the security near the Kyrgyz and Uzbek embassies.

Rioters have set fire to a number of businesses and government buildings in Osh, and there was looting and widespread vandalism, Kyrgyz officials said.

The nation’s top health official, Dinara Sagynbayeva, said on Friday about “half of those killed and injured have bullet wounds and the other half have injuries apparently made by some hard objects such as clubs, metal rods and rocks in Oh, the country’s second-largest city. CNN



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