It is a mission to try to ease tension in southern Kyrgyzstan. The country’s interim leader has flown into the city of Osh after deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities last week.
Roza Otunbayeva vowed to restore order and bring home all of those who fled the violence. She maintains there is “goodwill between both ethnic groups to live together in peace”.
It is estimated some 400,000 people fled to refugee camps on the Uzbek side of the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Different sources say between 200 and 2,000 people died in the clashes, leaving many people too scared to return to Osh.
One Uzbek refugee said: “My children have no hope in their hearts to live there. I want to stay here. I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want my children to be there.”
The latest violence comes only two months after Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted as president and replaced with the interim government.
In one of the efforts aimed at reconciliation, hundreds of members of the Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities prayed together in a mosque in the city of Jalalabad.