- Title: KYRGYZSTAN: Interim leader says situation in the South under control
- Date: 18th June 2010
- Summary: CHILDREN COLLECTING COINS FROM GROUND
- Embargoed: 3rd July 2010 13:00
- Location: Kyrgyzstan
- Country: Kyrgyzstan
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVABYE3UCMULOCZXJAS9G9E6MTVJ
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Kyrgyz interim government leader Roza Otunbayeva said on Saturday (June 19) the situation in the south of the country had calmed down and was under control. She expressed hope that the authorities would be able to prevent further outbursts of violence.
"Today we stopped all provocations, we are preventing them, we are doing well now and I think that we will be able to prevent further outbursts [of violence]. Both Osh and Jalalabad now, thank God, are in a calmer state. I've been there yesterday and checked what the situation there is today. Hostages remain a problem. Now we need to release hostages," Otunbayeva said while attending a graduation ceremony at the Kyrgyz military academy.
She said the official death toll from the violence in the south was over 200 hundred people.
"I've been to the hospital yesterday and seen people there, mostly those recovering. Now we will try to prevent any outbursts [of violence], any such acts. God help us to keep the situation at this level and to avoid any such actions."
Though the official death toll is around 200, the government said earlier as many as 2,000 Uzbeks and Kyrgyz may have been killed in several days of ethnic violence last week. The U.N. says an estimated 1 million people were affected.
"I've been to the hospital yesterday and seen people there, mostly those recovering. Now we will try to prevent any outbursts [of violence], any such acts. God help us to keep the situation at this level and to avoid any such actions," said Otunbayeva.
Otunbayeva, who became leader after the April uprising, has struggled to assert control in the shattered south where Uzbek neighbourhoods have barricaded themselves against Kyrgyz parts in a tense standoff.
In her address to the graduates of the military academy, she stressed the need to restore order in the whole of the country.
"Already tomorrow many of you will join the military units and will take part in the activity to enforce the state of emergency in the south of the country. Together the people, the army, the law enforcement bodies, we will restore order in our state and we need to make sure that such things will not happen in the future."
Otunbayeva's reference to hostages likely refers to claims by local men in the Osh area, who said on Friday they were holding hostage several ethnic Kyrgz and would release them for ethnic Uzbeks they believed were also being held. A Reuters reporter in the area was unable to independently verify the claims.
The violence in the south has triggered a wave of refugees, and around 400,000 people are now crammed into squalid camps on either side of the sun-parched Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, many without access to clean water, food and medicine.
U.S. envoy Robert Blake visited the camps on the Uzbek side on Friday (June 18) and described the situation as a humanitarian crisis.
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