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Ear to the Ground

Kyrgyzstan Violence: Why?

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Posted on Jun 27, 2010
AP / Alexander Zemlianichenko

The head of the local police leads a prayer for peace in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, flash point of the recent violence.

After an estimated 1,000 people died in violence in Kyrgyzstan two weeks ago, many are still asking “why?” Aside from blaming some organic propensity for violence between ethnic groups, The New York Times actually asked “why” and found complicity in both the Kyrgyz military and police forces. —JCL

The New York Times:

Two weeks after thousands are thought to have died in a wave of ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, and days before a national referendum on a new constitution, the interim government here has yet to provide a convincing explanation of why it occurred — a reflection, experts and former officials say, of the leadership’s inner turmoil and a possible portent of troubles to come.

The victims, mostly minority Uzbeks, say they were attacked by the Kyrgyz military and the police, and their accounts have been backed up by independent observers.

Yet the loose coalition of political figures who took power here in April after a popular uprising is so weak, these experts and former officials say, that it could be toppled if it acknowledges that it lacks control over the police and the army.

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