June 14th, 2010
10:51 AM ET

Thousands flee ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan

[Updated at 10:51 a.m.] Refugees who fled violence in Kyrgyzstan are desperate for food, a top European official said Monday.

"People are screaming, 'We need food, we need food,' to those who are passing by," EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

[Posted at 9:41 a.m.] Smoke rose over the streets of Osh and sporadic gunfire could be heard Monday as ethnic groups continued to battle in the strategically important Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan.

An estimated 80,000 ethnic Uzbeks have fled the ongoing clashes against ethnic Kyrgyz, causing one aid official to describe the situation as a "humanitarian catastrophe," according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

At least 114 people have been killed in the clashes and another 1,458 have been wounded, Kyrgystan's national news agency AKI Press reported Sunday.

It is the most serious outbreak of ethnic violence in the former Soviet republic since 1990, when hundreds died after clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Osh, the country's second city.

The violence comes two months after President Kurmanbek Bakiev was overthrown after bloody clashes between police and protesters in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

Opposition leaders had accused Bakiev of corruption and consolidating power by keeping key economic and security posts in the hands of relatives or close associates.

Kyrgyzstan hosts a U.S. military transport base that is vital for supplying its troops in Afghanistan. It also has a Russian military base and strategically important natural gas pipelines.

According to one report, the death toll is much higher than official figures suggest. Local officials in Osh, the city worst affected by the violence, said at least 500 ethnic Uzbeks have been killed, according to Ferghana.Ru, an independent news agency.

And the situation seemed to be continuing early Monday as a Uzbek neighborhood in Osh looked grim. At least three bodies were on the street buried in rubble. Goats and sheep had been killed and burned in yards. Some homes were vandalized with spray painted signs proclaiming "get out of Kyrgyzstan."

Read full CNN.com story

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Filed under: Kyrgyzstan • World
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Christina

    It's a shame how much this country needs Jesus, I will pray that they turn and receive His love so they will all understand and desire to worship Him instead of all this violence.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      I was deployed there, returned Feb... the situation of the people is more indepth then the articles i've been reading online. Wish CNN could get some real stuff.

      Also, no where does it really press on the Importance of Manas Transit Center (prev Manas Air Base) to the war against terrorism

      June 14, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • nnn

      people need God, not Jesus you idiot!

      June 14, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Aidai Masylkanova

    Please read my article for another view on the subject:


    June 14, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |