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Thousands try to flee Kyrgyzstan

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Thousands try to flee Kyrgyzstan


Hundreds of ethnic Uzbek refugees trying to flee the violence in Kyrgyzstan remain stranded at the border.

Neighbouring Uzbekistan, which closed crossings yesterday, insists it is unable to cope with the deluge, but the situation inside Kyrgyzstan appears increasingly desperate, with victims reporting the mass rape of Uzbek women and the killing of children.

Some food and water is getting through and Uzbek border guards are letting the most severely injured in.

The southern part of Kyrgyzstan has been convulsed by days of rioting between feuding ethnic groups. The interim government in the capital Bishkek estimates more than 170 people have been killed and 1,700 wounded so far. It admits, however, that that figure is likely to grow substantially.

One mosque close to Uzbekistan’s border has been turned into a makeshift hospital to treat victims.

The UN, US and Russia, which are increasingly concerned about the situation, have been flying humanitarian supplies into the strategically located central Asian state. Both Washington and Moscow have military bases in Kyrgyzstan.

The Kyrgyz city of Osh in the south has been ravaged after days of deadly unrest. Calm appears to have descended on the city with Kyrgyz troops patrolling the streets but it remains a fragile peace.

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