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More than one million people may flee Uzbekistan
"More than one million people may flee Uzbekistan," Kyrgyzstan's human-rights commissioner Tursunbai Bakir Uulu told a press conference today, reports the country's Kabar news agency. The Kyrgyz ombudsman has been watching Uzbek developments since 1991. In his words, popular unrest is not uncommon there. "But Uzbekistan is not Kyrgyzstan, which searches for peaceful ways of stopping popular uprisings. The President of Uzbekistan will use force to suppress popular unrest. Our country will then be filled to overflowing with Uzbek refugees," Tursunbai Bakir Uulu said. "We must enlist the services of international organizations because the Kyrgyz economy won't make it possible to accommodate even 1,000 Uzbek refugees. We can only provide land plots for their traditional tents," Bakir Uulu added. "The Uzbek-Kazakh border is sealed tight. Uzbekistan maintains tense relations with Tajikistan. This is why Uzbek refugees will once again pour into Kyrgyzstan," Bakir Uulu stressed. The latest refugee tide was caused by clashes in Andizhan and Karasu. Gunmen seized a prison and several administrative buildings in Andizhan in the early hours of May 13. Uzbek troops subsequently stormed the municipal-administration building, establishing control over it. Talking to journalists May 14, President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan said ten law-enforcement officers had been killed. "The number of victims among criminals is, of course, greater," Karimov added. Foreign news agencies quoted doctors and human rights activists as saying that hundreds of people had died. On May 14 all-out riots spread to Karasu, Uzbekistan. The rioters burned down several local administrative buildings, including a prosecutor's office, a police station and a tax inspectorate. They did not voice any political demands at all.
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