06/11/2010, 00.00
KYRGYZSTAN
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Ethnic violence in Osh kills 12, injures 130

Interim government declares a state of emergency in the country’s second largest city. A stronghold of ousted President Bakiyev, Osh is rocked by street clashes. Troops now patrol the streets as Interior Ministry acknowledges that the situation is “strained”.
Bishkek (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least 12 people have been died in clashes in the city of Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan. The country’s transitional government declared a state of emergency, concerned that inter-ethnic clashes might flare up again in the wake of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s ouster in April. Local sources say at least 130 people have been injured.

Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s second largest city, is the former president’s stronghold. The authorities sent troops into its streets but they are having a hard time restoring clam. This morning, hundreds of youths from different ethnic groups roamed the streets and fought with steel bars, setting shops and cars ablaze.

The caretaker government led by Roza Otunbayeva described the clashes as a "local conflict" possibly sparked by an argument in a casino. Eyewitnesses said that most casualties had gunshot wounds.

The Interior Ministry said five people have been detained and that the situation in Osh was "strained".

In this very poor former Soviet Republic, violence has been a regular occurrence since April, a situation that worries the powers with the greatest influence in the area, Russia, China and The United States.

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