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Emergency declared in Kyrgyzstan, six killed

OSH, Kyrgyzstan: Six people were killed when violence erupted in Kyrgyzstan's second-largest city Osh on Friday, prompting the interim government to declare a state of emergency and send in armored vehicles. Hundreds of youths fought with steel bars and set shops and cars ablaze. The government, led by Roza Otunbayeva, described it as a “local...

SAMAA | - Posted: Jun 11, 2010 | Last Updated: 11 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jun 11, 2010 | Last Updated: 11 years ago

OSH, Kyrgyzstan: Six people were killed when violence erupted in Kyrgyzstan's second-largest city Osh on Friday, prompting the interim government to declare a state of emergency and send in armored vehicles.

Hundreds of youths fought with steel bars and set shops and cars ablaze.

The government, led by Roza Otunbayeva, described it as a “local conflict” possibly sparked by an argument in a casino, but the violence in the southern power base of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was likely to stoke fears of ethnic clashes.

Bakiyev was deposed in April as leader of the impoverished Central Asian country in a popular revolt that raised concern among regional players Russia, China and the United States. The country hosts both a Russian and a U.S. military base.

His supporters briefly seized government buildings in the south on May 13, defying central authorities in Bishkek.

Six people were killed and 68 were injured in Friday's violence, some with gunshot wounds, a Health Ministry spokeswoman said.

The Interior Ministry said five people had been detained and that the situation in Osh was “strained”. A ministry spokesman said preliminary information suggested the violence could have started in a casino.

Several shops were still on fire near the mayor's office in central Osh, a Reuters witness said. A crowd had gathered and gunfire could be heard.

The interim government declared the state of emergency in Osh and three surrounding regions after holding an emergency meeting in the early hours of Friday, a spokesman for the government said.

“Roza Otunbayeva announced that the interim government will deploy all of its available resources and is sure that security will be provided for its citizens,” the spokesman, Farid Niyazov, said by telephone.

Ismail Isakov, defence minister in the interim government, flew to Osh immediately after the emergency meeting. Isakov was recently appointed by the interim government as its special representative for southern Kyrgyzstan.

Interior Minister Bolot Sherniyazov has also flown to Osh, a city of more than 200,000 people in the volatile Fergana valley. AGENCIES

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