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Witnesses: Kyrgyz Authorities Conduct Raids on Uzbek Neighborhood

Witnesses and human rights groups say Kyrgyz authorities have raided an Uzbek village in the south, killing at least two people and wounding 23 others.

Kyrgyz officials say Monday's operation in the village of Nariman was launched to look for suspected criminals and weapons. But rights groups say police carried out the raid near the city of Osh in response to the killing of a police officer last week.

The south remains tense following clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that began June 10 in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad, and killed an estimated 2,000 people. The United Nations says some 400,000 people have fled the violence, with some crossing into neighboring Uzbekistan and others massing near the border. Many Uzbek refugees are still fearful to return home.

Kyrgyz officials say they still plan to go ahead with a June 27 referendum on a new constitution despite the continuing state of emergency in two southern regions.

Turkey and Kazakhstan on Monday backed the vote plan and said they would offer their support to Kyrgyzstan.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu discussed the situation in Kyrgyzstan with his Kazakh counterpart, Kanat Saudabayev, and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the Kazakh capital, Astana. Davutoglu said the two countries plan to prepare joint actions to provide help to Kyrgyzstan immediately following the June 27 referendum.

Also Monday, interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbayeva visited southern Kyrgyzstan.

The interim government has blamed deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his supporters for causing the violence, but he has denied any involvement. Mr. Bakiyev was ousted in an April 7 uprising that killed 85 people. Many of his supporters are based in the south.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.