170 killed in Kyrgyzstan interethnic violence

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170 killed in Kyrgyzstan interethnic violence

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The UN has called on Kyrgyzstan’s interim government to prevent deadly unrest spreading across central Asia as international concern mounts over the crisis sweeping the country.

Clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks have now left at least 170 dead and some 1,700 injured.

The southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad still remain extremely volatile after weekend violence.

Some 100,000 Uzbeks are thought to be trying to flee the country with many insisting they’ve been targeted by Kyrgyz mobs backed by local police.

Russia has sent a battalion of paratroopers and both it, the US and the UN have promised humanitarian aid.

However, the Kremlin has so far ruled out intervention alone despite pleas from Kyrgyzstan’s government to help regain control.

It came to power in April following the overthrow of president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and there are fears civil war or even a full-blown conflict could break out with neighbouring Uzbekistan, which closed its border yesterday.

Foreign nationals are also trying to escape the violence, with Pakistan and China airlifting citizens from the strife torn country.

In what is the worst violence in the region since the fall of the soviet union experts are also warning Kyrgyzstan could split in half or even cease to exist as an independent state.