US, others send aid as Uzbek refugees flee to border in Kyrgyzstan

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (AP) - The U.S., Russia and the United Nations are organizing humanitarian airlifts to refugees fleeing ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Fires have been burning again today in Osh, the central Asian nation's second largest city, where the violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks first erupted four days ago. The official death toll stands at 138 with some 1,800 people injured, though an Uzbek community leader says at least 200 Uzbeks have already been buried.

Uzbek leaders are also saying about 100,000 refugees have fled to the border with neighboring Uzbekistan, where the government has set up camps. Officials in the neighboring country say most of the refugees are women, children and the elderly, and many have gunshot wounds.

Kyrgyzstan's interim government has been unable to stop the violence. It's accused the family of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev of instigating it.

Bakiyev was ousted in April, and Uzbeks in the south have backed the interim rulers.

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