Why should this happened? Is there any invisible hands involved? or is there any provocateur taking advantage on the newly formed interim government?
I was in Osh somewhere in 1995, a very nice place full with nice people, located in Ferghana Valley, the bed of Islamic movement in the region. Stop fighting, concentrate on nation building.
Shahrul Peshawar, Kota Bharu
Kyrgyzstan asks Russia to help quell ethnic clashes
OSH, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan appealed for Russia’s help on Saturday to stop ethnic fighting that has killed at least 75 and left parts of its second-largest city in flames, the worst violence since the president was toppled in April.
The interim government in Kyrgyzstan, which hosts U.S. and Russian military bases, said it was powerless to stop armed gangs from burning down the homes and businesses of ethnic Uzbeks in parts of Osh. Gun battles raged throughout the night.
Violence and shooting spread to the neighboring region of Jalalabad, scene of deadly clashes last month.
“We need the entry of outside armed forces to calm the situation down,” interim government leader Roza Otunbayeva told reporters. “We have appealed to Russia for help and I have already signed such a letter for President Dmitry Medvedev.”
Russia said now was not the time to intervene.
“It is an internal conflict and for now Russia does not see the conditions for taking part in its resolution,” Natalya Timakova, Medvedev’s spokeswoman, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
Kyrgyzstan, a poor former Soviet state of 5.3 million people, declared a state of emergency in Osh and several rural districts early on Friday after rival ethnic gangs fought each other with guns, iron bars and petrol bombs.
Renewed turmoil in Kyrgyzstan will fuel concern in Russia, the United States and neighbor China. Washington uses an air base at Manas in the north of the country, about 300 km (190 miles) from Osh, to supply its forces in Afghanistan.
The Kyrgyz Health Ministry said at least 75 people had been killed — six of them in Jalalabad — and nearly 1,000 wounded in the violence in the southerly power base of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, deposed by a popular revolt.
Otunbayeva said the eventual toll was likely to be greater.
Otunbayeva accused supporters of Bakiyev — like her, an ethnic Kyrgyz — of stoking the violence to disrupt her government’s plans to hold a national referendum on June 27 to vote on changes to the constitution.
“This event shows that the push by these people to turn backwards is extraordinarily great,” she said.
She added more reinforcements would be sent to Osh. The interim government has already deployed troops and armored vehicles and declared a night-time curfew in Osh, to no avail.
The curfew was extended to Jalalabad region on Saturday.
“There is shooting, clashes. People are gathering … trying to build blocks, barricades. The police are patrolling,” government spokesman Farid Niyazov said of Jalalabad.
“These are echoes of the events in Osh.”
Interim government deputy chairman Omurbek Tekebayev called for peace between the Uzbeks and the Kyrgyz, saying they are “brotherly nations” who share a religion and similar languages.
The Uzbek Foreign Ministry expressed “great concern” about the events in Osh, saying there were “reasons to conclude that such events are organized, managed and provocational.”
A Reuters correspondent in Osh said gun battles were still taking place in an Uzbek neighborhood. Gas was shut off to Osh and some neighborhoods had no electricity.
“Everywhere is burning: Uzbek homes, restaurants and cafes. The whole town is covered in smoke,” said local human rights worker Dilmurad Ishanov, an ethnic Uzbek.
“We don’t need the Kyrgyz authorities. We need Russia. We need troops. We need help.”
The European Union said it would send its special representative for Central Asia, Pierre Morel.
Asked about possible Russian help, an EU spokesman said, “We would welcome any effort from one of our international partners to help the situation in Kyrgyzstan.”
Otunbayeva said Osh was also facing a humanitarian crisis as food was running out. She said her government had decided to open the border to Uzbekistan to allow fleeing Uzbeks to escape, although it was not clear who controlled the frontier.
One witness said some women and children had made it across to the Uzbek town of Marhamat, 60 km (38 miles) from Osh, and camps had been set up for those without family in Uzbekistan.
Russia offered humanitarian aid and sent in a helicopter with doctors to fly out some of the wounded, the Kremlin said.
Kyrgyzstan, which won independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, has been in turmoil since the revolt that toppled Bakiyev on April 7, kindling fears of civil war.
Supporters of Bakiyev, now in exile in Belarus, briefly seized government buildings in the south on May 13, defying Otunbayeva’s central authorities in Bishkek.
The latest clashes are the worst ethnic violence since 1990, when then-Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev sent in Soviet troops after hundreds of people were killed in and around Osh.
This time, Russia said it would discuss the situation within in the security bloc of former Soviet republics known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization on Monday.
Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan intertwine in the Fergana Valley. While Uzbeks make up 14.5 percent of the Kyrgyz population, the two groups are roughly equal in the Osh and Jalalabad regions.
The government now faces a major test in trying to reassert control, said Lilit Gevorgyan at IHS Global Insight, “The explosive combination of a counter-revolution and an ethnic conflict poses the greatest threat to the future of the Kyrgyz revolution.”
(Additional reporting by Olga Dzyubenko in Bishkek, Robin Paxton in Almaty, Toni Vorobyova in Moscow and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Writing by Robin Paxton; Editing by Louise Ireland)