Ethnic Uzbeks who fled their homes in Kyrgyzstan gather along a fence on the border with Uzbekistan.
As ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan continued to brutalize the country, interim leader Rosa Otunbayeva paid her first visit there and expressed fear that the death toll could reach 2,000 in the former Soviet republic.
An estimated 400,000 of Kyrgyzstan’s 5.3 million people have fled the violence, many to refugee camps on the Uzbekistan border. —JCL
Kyrgyzstan’s interim leader Rosa Otunbayeva said today that the death toll from savage ethnic violence in the south of the country could be as high as 2,000, as she paid her first visit to the region since the n unrest began.
Otunbayeva, who pledged that the hundreds of thousands of Uzbek refugees would be allowed to return home, told Russian media that she would “multiply by 10” the official death toll of 191.
Without mentioning the Uzbek community by name, Otunbayeva said the wrecked city of Osh would be rebuilt. After arriving by military helicopter, she visited Osh’s inter-regional hospital, where Kyrgz victims of the conflict are being treated.