Kyrgyzstan

First amateur images of Osh riots

Twenty-six people have been killed and a state of emergency introduced in Kyrgyzstan's second biggest city after riots broke out late on Thursday night.

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Photo posted here.

Twenty-six people have been killed and a state of emergency introduced in Kyrgyzstan's second biggest city after riots broke out late on Thursday night.

These are the first amateur images to emerge from the city.

Gunfire was heard throughout the night and continued into the morning. Video posted on neweurasia.net.

Cars and buildings were set alight.  Video posted on neweurasia.net.

Video posted on neweurasia.net.

It remains unclear what sparked the violence, which has seen at least 26 killed and at least 200 injured. Interim President Roza Otunbayeva said that the issue was a local one. Political observers say that the conflict is between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks - a theory supported by one of our Observers in the country (see below).

We'll update this story when we find out more.

“Unlike in Bishkek, this is an interethnic conflict, which is much more dangerous”

Joldosh Osmanov works for an international organisation in Bishkek. He is following the situation in Osh through friends who live there.

What I've heard from friends in Osh is that the conflict began with a fight between young Uzbeks and Kyrgyz, which spiralled to the point that the two ethnic groups started looting each other's stores and cafes. It's said that both sides had guns and that's why so many people ended up dying and getting injured.  

My friends there are staying at home since it is unsafe to go outside. They told me that because of the size of the city, the police and army are still struggling to take control of the situation in some areas.

Uzbeks in the city live in neighbourhoods called ‘mahalya'. So to stop the Kyrgyz from reaching them, the authorities have surrounded the areas with heavy military vehicles and soldiers.

The situation in Osh is a little different from what happened here in Bishkek. It's not a political protest as it was in Bishkek. When that was happening people could go out and move around. But is Osh they're afraid to leave the house.

It's an interethnic conflict, meaning that you can be harmed just because you are Kyrgyz or Uzbek. There are all sorts of rumours going round. People there are saying that Uzbek youths took Kyrgyz women hostage. Another rumour is that Uzbek people who work in the Osh police department have given weapons to Uzbek people. But these could be rumours spread by Kyrgyz in order for them to legitimise their actions. In any case the authorities will not mention them. They don't want to see the violence escalate. They've already imposed a curfew until 20 June."