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Kyrgyz unrest spreads after day of bloodshed

Kyrgyz unrest spreads after day of bloodshed
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Kyrgyzstan’s latest wave of unrest could be spreading after a day in which dozens died in fierce ethnic clashes.

They erupted in the second-largest city Osh where hundreds of youths battled with guns and steel bars, setting shops ablaze.

The fighting between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek communties was the worst violence in the Central Asian state since its president was overthrown in April. More than 40 people have been killed and more than 600 others injured.

A state of emergency was declared in the area. But later, demonstrations and skirmishes were reported in the capital Bishkek, raising fears of a further deterioration in the security situation.

Twenty years ago, hundreds died in ethnic clashes near Osh. On Friday, the interim government sent military reinforcements to the city to try to restore calm.

The latest violence occurred in the southern power base of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was deposed in a popular uprising. It raises fresh fears of civil war in a strategically important country, that hosts both US and Russian military bases.