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June 18, 2010

Ethnic attacks in Kyrgyzstan

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. (40 photos total)

Kurgunbai Inambayev, an Uzbek, is seen in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, on June 15, 2010. Inambayev said the bruises on his face were inflicted by Kyrgyz attackers during days of ethnic rioting in Kyrgyzstan. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Smoke rises from a residential area of the city of Osh. Kyrgyzstan on June 12, 2010. (REUTERS/Alexei Osokin) #

Men walk past a burning building in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan on June 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Alexei Osokin) #

Ethnic Uzbeks try to extinguish the fire burning their house, torched by Kyrgyz men, in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, June 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Zarip Toroyev) #

Members of ethnic Uzbek community armed with sticks and Molotov cocktails to protect their lives and property look at smoke rising from the burning Uzbek villages set on fire by the Kyrgyz attackers near Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, on Saturday, June 12, 2010. (AP Photo/D. Dalton Bennett) #

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Soldiers sit on an armored vehicle near a crowd on a street in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan June 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Alexei Osokin) #

Ethnic Uzbeks gather near the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in southern Kyrgyzstan, on Saturday, June 12, 2010, trying to seek refuge in Uzbekistan from mobs of Kyrgyz men attacking the minority Uzbek community. Thousands of terrified ethnic Uzbeks were fleeing toward the nearby border with Uzbekistan.(AP Photo/D. Dalton Bennett) #

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A man stands near the partly covered bodies of an Uzbek woman and her four children stampeded to death by a mob rushing to the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in southern Kyrgyzstan, on Saturday, June 12, 2010. (AP Photo/D. Dalton Bennett) #

Children sit in front of a destroyed building by the People's Friendship University in Jalal-Abad on June 16, 2010. (OXANA ONIPKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Dead bodies of ethnic Uzbeks killed in recent clashes are seen at their house before a funeral ceremony in the city of Osh, June 13, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Uzbeks look into the ruins of a burned building where the charred remains of the body of a fellow Uzbek lies in Osh, Kyrgyzstan on June 14, 2010. (VICTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images) #

A sign saying "Kyrgyz Zone" stands in the middle of the street in the city of Osh on June 13, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Uzbek men cry near a destroyed house in a village of Shark outside Osh on June 16, 2010. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images) #

A view of the aftermath in an Uzbek neighborhood in the center of Osh, seen from atop a minaret on Monday, June 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Dalton Bennett) #

Kyrgyz police officers are seen through a car window as they guard a checkpoint at an outskirts of the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Tuesday, June 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

Kyrgyz Army volunteers ride in the back of a truck patrolling the outskirts of the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh in Kyrgyzstan, Wednesday, June 16, 2010 with a humanitarian convoy following behind. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

Uzbeks look towards a Kyrgyz neighborhood as they stand behind barricades in the Dustuk neighborhood of the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Wednesday, June 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #

A Kyrgyz special forces officer carries sticks and Molotov cocktails seized during a search operation in the Dustuk neighborhood in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Wednesday, June 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #

Kyrgyz special forces prepare their weapons inside a vehicle that is heading a convoy driving under fire from an airport to the center of the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Monday, June 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #

Matluba, an Uzbek woman who says she fled from the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh after her family were killed, weeps as she stands in line in no-man's-land near the Uzbek village of Jalal-Kuduk waiting for permission to cross into Uzbekistan, Monday, June 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Anvar Ilyasov) #

An ethnic Uzbek woman cries as she waits at the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border outside the village of Suratash some 15kms south of Osh on June 14, 2010. (OXANA ONIPKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Ethnic Uzbeks walk between tents at a refugee camp in the village of Yorkishlak on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border on June 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) #

An Uzbek mother cries before a funeral her son in Osh on June 17, 2010. (ANTOINE LAMBROSCHINI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Uzbek men pray during a funeral ceremony for the remains of victims killed during ethnic rioting between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks, in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Wednesday, June 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #

The first Kyrgyz Emergency Situation Ministry motorcade drives with 70 tons of flour bags to the hungry in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Tuesday, June 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

A Kyrgyz Interior Ministry forces officer conducts house-to-house searches in the Anoshin neighborhood in the city of Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, Monday, June 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Merkushev) #

Uzbek men overturn a burned car as they build a barricade in the Uzbek district of the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Thursday, June 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #

Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek men walk along a street of Suzak, an Uzbek neighborhood near the southern Kyrgyz city of Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan, Friday, June 18, 2010, as they perform joint Kyrgyz-Uzbek patrol. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #

Kyrgyz soldiers patrol and secure the area near the airport in Osh on June 14, 2010. (VICTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Kyrgyz children look out of a bus window as they wait for the departure to Bishkek from central Osh on June 17, 2010. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Kyrgyz soldiers and volunteers check passing cars and search passengers for possession of weapons as they control a check point on the Uzbek side on the outskirts of the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh in Kyrgyzstan, Wednesday, June 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake (2nd from right) meets ethnic Uzbeks who fled from southern Kyrgyzstan at a refugee camp in the village of Yorkishlak on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border on June 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) #

Mamataliyev Erkin, 37, wounded in southern Kyrgyzstan, recovers in a hospital in the eastern Uzbek town of Andizhan June 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) #

A helicopter carrying Kyrgyzstan's interim leader Roza Otunbayeva lands in central Osh on June 18, 2010. Otunbayeva flew to the country's south today in a bid to calm tensions after admitting the death toll in ethnic clashes may be ten times higher than earlier figures. AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Kyrgyzstan's interim leader Roza Otunbayeva wearing a flak jacket is flanked by a bodyguard and an unidentified official upon her arrival in Osh on June 18, 2010. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images) #

The head of local police, Colonel Kursan Asanov, right, speaks to an ethnic Uzbek Kyrgyz citizen during peace negotiations, as he calls on ethnic Uzbeks to pull down a barricade between Uzbek and Kyrgyz districts in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Friday, June 18, 2010. Kyrgyzstan's interim government leader Rosa Otunbayeva is vowing to work for the return of refugees who fled deadly ethnic violence there by the hundreds of thousands. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

 
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