Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Osh drowned in death, fear, hatred

Osh drowned in death, fear, hatred

Charred corpses lay in the streets of Uzbek neighborhoods in the Kyrgyzstan city of Osh yesterday as people hid from gunshots and fresh fires amid spiralling ethnic violence.
Uzbek men, armed with makeshift weapons, stood on guard outside their homes while women and children hid in basements, fearing what new horror may lie in store for them. "This will be remembered... It's impossible to live together, we will never live together again," growled Uzbek resident Akbar, angry tears springing to his eyes. He clutched a hatchet as he described the days of deadly violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks raging across the Central Asian state's southern Ferghana Valley.
Nearby, three corpses, burnt almost beyond recognition, lay unattended as fresh fires sent acrid smoke over the devastated neighbourhoods. Residents said ethnic Kyrgyz mobs had flung petrol bombs into Uzbek shops. Spent shellcases littered the ground near the charred bodies. Felled trees and burned out cars and trucks clogged the narrow streets. Over 30 people were killed in the mob violence on Alisher Navoy street alone, residents said, raising fears the death toll would soar higher than the official figure of 117.
A journalist was shown video footage of the burials of dozens of bodies - with visible bullet wounds, many of them badly burnt - that residents said they had filmed in the four days of violence.
The video showed groups of corpses being tossed together into shared graves. "There are at least 1,000 dead here in Osh. We have not been able to register them because they turn us away at the hospital and say it is only for Kyrgyz," Isamidin Kudbidunov, 27, told reporters. People in ethnic Uzbek enclaves, areas referred to locally 'Mahallas', accused Kyrgyz government forces of taking part in brutal mob violence against Uzbek natives of the south of the ex-Soviet state. Dildor Dzhumabayev, a 38-year-old ethnic Uzbek in Osh, said people were gunned down by armed personnel carriers that were used to clear the way for mobs on the streets.
The violence exploded Friday in Osh when ethnic Kyrgyz gangs began attacking shops and homes of ethnic Uzbeks, igniting tensions between the two dominant ethnic groups in the region that have simmered for a generation.
At least 117 dead have been killed and more than 1,500 wounded, according to an official toll, while the violence has displaced tens of thousands of refugees, most of them ethnic Uzbeks but also a large number of Tajiks. Estimates on the number of refugees that have flooded into Uzbekistan in recent days from Kyrgyzstan vary, but several officials say the total could top 100,000.
Matt Siegel is an Agence France-Presse writer.


Updated : 2021-10-20 10:48 GMT+08:00