US calls for inquiry into Kyrgyz violence

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US calls for inquiry into Kyrgyz violence

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Tensions remain high in southern Kyrgyzstan where ethnic violence is believed to have killed at least 2,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

Clashes between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities there have driven some to set up roadblocks to hinder the movements of those behind the violence.

“We will remove the barricades when the Kyrgyz authorities come out in our support and protect us,” said one ethnic Uzbek. “They should catch and punish the culprits who carried out these outrages.”

There has traditionally been a deep rivalry between the two communities: this part of the country was the scene of inter-ethnic violence 20 years ago.

But there are allegations that those loyal to ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev are behind the violence, with the former head of state said to be orchestrating the fighting while in exile in Belarus.

US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, who held talks with interim president Roza Otunbayeva, has called for an international investigation.

Meanwhile, UN aid is arriving in the capital of Bishkek.

Those who have fled the fighting are living in camps on the Uzbek border, with no food and little access to clean water.