OSH, Kyrgyzstan (AP) - Police and soldiers struggled Saturday to stop deadly ethnic clashes in this Central Asian country as gangs of armed young Kyrgyz men marched on Uzbek neighborhoods where houses were already burning.
The official death toll climbed to at least 49, with more than 650 people wounded, the Health Ministry said. The real figures may be higher because doctors and human rights workers said ethnic Uzbeks were afraid to seek hospital treatment.
Thousands of ethnic Uzbeks were fleeing toward the nearby border with Uzbekistan.
The violence that broke out Friday in Osh, the country's second-largest city, is the worst since former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was toppled in a bloody uprising in April and fled the country.
It poses a decisive test of the provisional government's ability to control the country, where the U.S. and Russia both have military air bases. The government needs stability to hold a June 27 vote on a new constitution and go ahead with elections for a new parliament in October.
The government declared a state of emergency in and around Osh and dispatched armored vehicles, troops and helicopters to pacify the situation. Fighting quieted down overnight but resumed with new strength Saturday morning. [...] go read the rest
The Snooper Report.
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