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Over 400,000 ethnically cleansed from southern Kyrgyzstan

by Dorgi Friday, Jun. 18, 2010 at 4:34 AM

Some 400,000 people have been displaced by ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, dramatically increasing the official estimate of a crisis that has left throngs of desperate, fearful refugees without enough food and water in grim camps along the Uzbek border.

U.N. Humanitarian Office spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said an estimated 300,000 people have been driven from their homes but remain inside the nation of 5.3 million people. She said there are now also about 100,000 refugees in neighboring Uzbekistan. The last official estimate of refugees who fled the country was 75,000. No number of internally displaced has been available.

Violence erupted last week between the majority Kyrgyz population and minority ethnic Uzbeks. Kyrgyzstan's government has accused the country's deposed president of igniting long-standing ethnic tensions by sending gunmen in ski masks to shoot members of both groups. The government, which overthrew President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April, accuses the leader of deep corruption and says that he and his supporters were attempting to shake official control of the south and reassert their control of the Afghan heroin trade in the area.

The deputy chief of the provisional government, Azimbek Beknazarov, said Thursday that authorities had strengthened roadblocks on all entrances into the capital, Bishkek, and tightened security in prisons to prevent Bakiyev's clan from provoking turmoil in the north.

Beknazarov put the official death toll on both sides is 223, but others said the figure could be significantly higher. Many Kyrgyz were killed but the victims appear to have been predominantly Uzbeks, traditional farmers and traders who speak a distinct but separate Turkic language and have traditionally been more prosperous than the Kyrgyz, who come from a nomadic tradition.

Ethnic Uzbeks in camps along the Uzbekistan side of the border told Associated Press reporters Thursday that they were fearful of returning to their homes. Many on the Kyrgyzstan side said they had been prevented from doing so by the authorities, and were awaiting their chance to leave the country for the camps
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sniff sniff what's that SMELL? Friday, Jun. 18, 2010 at 6:10 AM
If they aren't Palestinian ,who cares? Paul LaRudee Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2010 at 10:01 AM
well, actually.... zio-what? Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2010 at 1:53 PM
Only Palestinian issues matter anyway Only Palestinian issues matter anyway Friday, Jul. 02, 2010 at 9:48 AM
on second thought About- Is Real-All the Time Friday, Jul. 02, 2010 at 12:25 PM
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