Accessibility links

Kyrgyz Leader Says All is Calm Now But Hundreds May be Dead

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, says $71 million in emergency aid is needed in Kyrgyzstan as thousands have been displaced and thousands of people have fled the country following ethnic clashes in the country's south. Meanwhile, The leader of the Kyrgyz interim government, Roza Otunbayeva on a visit to the area, said the situation in the south of the country is under full control but she also wants an investigation into who caused the unrest.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says some areas in Kyrgyzstan are still suffering from shortages of food, water, electricity and medical supplies. He said about 300,000 people have been displaced by the fighting and up to 100,000 have fled across the border to Uzbekistan. Tens of thousands more, he said, are waiting to cross the border.

A U.N. refugee agency reported that two planes carrying 80 tons of relief were due to arrive in the southern city of Osh over the weekend.

Interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbayeva, who made her first visit to the region on Friday, said the violence has likely killed 2,000 people - while the official death toll still stands at about 200. She has promised to rebuild the area, and said the sitution has calmed down:

Interim leader Otunbayeva said that right now the Kyrgyz goverment had stopped the attacks and violence and was preventing new provacations from breaking out and she said she thinks the goverment can prevent future trouble. She said both the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad are much calmer now.

Roza Otunbayeva has met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, who visited the refugee camps on the Uzbek side on Friday, and described the situation as a humanitarian crisis. Blake has called for an investigation into what happened and asked the interim government to ensure accountability for those who were behind the unrest.

"I think it's important now for the interim government to take immediate steps to first stop the violence that has occurred, and then to launch an investigation into the causes of the violence," he said. "I think the violence took many of them by surprise and in their conversations with me this morning they told me that they were not responsible for the violence that took place and it was in fact supporters of former president Bakiyev [Kurmanbek Bakiyev] and some of the.... what they call the narco-mafia who are here who are responsible for the violence, but nonetheless, as I said I think it's very important now for them to do everything they can to restore control and security particularly in these ethnic Uzbek enclaves so that the delivery of humanitarian assistance can take place."

The interim government has blamed deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his supporters for organizing the riots although he has denied any responsibility. He is currently in Belarus where he fled after public protests ousted him in April. 85 people were killed in the uprising. The U.N. has also said the recent unrest appeared orchestrated, but did not blame anyone specific.

Both Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group said the ethnic violence in Osh and Jalalabad has resulted in killings, rapes, beatings, burning and looting of homes. They also said there were a growing number of reports that Kyrgyz military and other security personnel may have been active participants in the riots.

Riots began on June 11, when armed men started shooting at ethnic Uzbeks in Osh and then Jalalabad. As a result, entire Uzbek neighbourhoods have been reduced to ruins and nearly half of the region's roughly 800,000 Uzbeks were forced to flee for their lives.

According to the U.N., an estimated 1 million people were affected by the violence.