Ethnic Attacks In kyrgyzstan.


Aman Jatt
Beginning one week ago, thousands of young Kyrgyz men rampaged through parts of southern Kyrgyzstan with weapons and torches, attacking ethnic Uzbek neighborhoods, burning homes and stores, and, according to reports, beating, raping and killing Uzbek residents. The official death toll is over 200, though officials have indicated it may be ten times that number. The attacks lasted for several days, setting off a massive rush to flee the violence - an estimated 400,000 Uzbeks fled the region in the last week, heading to larger cities or the Uzbekistan border. It remains unclear exactly what instigated the attacks, or who exactly was the organizing force behind them. Kyrgyzstan's interim government suggested loyalists of recently-deposed former president Bakiyev were behind the attacks. Though the recent violence seems to have ebbed, instability remains in Kyrgyzstan, with Uzbeks barricading their neighborhoods and taking their defense into their own hands.