2 Killed in Southern Kyrgyzstan Ethnic Clashes

2 Killed in Southern Kyrgyzstan Ethnic Clashes
# 19 May 2010 19:50 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Clashes between rival ethnic groups killed at least two people, wounded 45 others as country struggles to maintain order after last month’s political uprising, APA reports quoting “The Voice of America”
Clashes between rival ethnic groups have killed at least two people and wounded 45 others in southern Kyrgyzstan, as the country struggles to maintain order after last month’s political uprising.

Witnesses say thousands of ethnic Kyrgyz tried to storm an Uzbek-founded university in the city of Jalalabad Wednesday. The crowd threw stones at the Peoples’ Friendship University and shouted demands for the arrest of an Uzbek community leader, whom they accuse of inciting racial tension.

Gunfire erupted during the demonstration, but it was unclear who fired the shots. A Kyrgyz news agency quoted witnesses who said a group of about 1,500 Uzbeks armed with sticks were later making their way to the center of Jalalabad. Security forces were trying to contain the crowd.

Kyrgyzstan’s interim leader Roza Otunbayeva condemned the violence and said steps were being taken to prevent further unrest in the region.

Southern Kyrgyzstan has been the scene of unrest since mass protests last month overthrew the former government of Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Last week, Bakiyev supporters stormed government buildings in the provinces of Osh, Jalalabad and Batken. One person was killed and 60 others wounded during those clashes.

Mr. Bakiyev fled Kyrgyzstan after he was toppled on April 7 during protests that killed 85 people.

The interim government has charged Mr. Bakiyev with mass killings, accusing him of ordering security forces to open fire on anti-government protesters during the uprising. They are asking for his extradition from Belarus.
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