Thousands of Ethnic Uzbek Refugees Reportly Flee to Uzbekistan Border
As the death toll reaches 65 in Uzbek-Kyrgyz clashes and Roza Otunbayeva, Kyrgyzstan's interim president has called on Russia for assistance,according to unconfirmed reports, several thousand ethnic Uzbek refugees have fled to the border of Uzbekistan to escape violence in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, ferghana.ru and AKIpress.org reported.
Andrea Berg of Human Rights Watch, currently located in the city center of Osh told EurasiaNet:
The humanitarian situation is becoming tense now especially for vulnerable groups such as pregnant woman, children and the elderly. There is not enough food. The shops and bazaars were looted and burned down. People have whatever they had in the homes from two days ago.
There are unconfirmed reports of between 3,000 and 5,000 gathering at
three points at the Uzbek border.
The actions of the Kyrgyz security forces and military should be investigated regarding unconfirmed but widespread allegations that they participated in the removal of barricades protecting Uzbek neighborhoods in addition to allegedly handing out weapons to ethnic Kyrgyz rioters, Berg added.
Homes and stores were torched all night on June 11-12 in the Osh districts of Cheryomushki and Kalinina, and electricity has been turned off in many areas, AKIpress.org reports. Attacks were also reportedly made on police stations in Aravan district.
More than 2,000 refugees, mainly women, children, and elderly were reported to have crossed the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, which was officially closed by the Uzbek government, said ferghana.ru,
Uzbekistan has sent special forces to reinforce the border, 24.kg reported, citing Cholponbek Turusbekov, deputy head of the state border service of Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan has officially closed the border due to ongoing unrest in Osh, he said.
Groups of people with black armbands armed with sticks and firearms and are driving around in cars without license places and raiding residential areas and public buildings, AKIpress.org reported.
The democratic opposition and human rights movement of Uzbekistan has called on the Kyrgyz interim government to stop the bloodshed in Osh, an opposition leader, Hazratkul Hudoyberdi told 24.kg.