Kyrgyzstan blames Uzbeks, ex-president for unrest

11th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday blamed leaders of the local Uzbek community and allies of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev for the deadly ethnic violence that left hundreds dead in its south last year.

The chief investigator heading a commission into the June 2010 clashes between the ethnic Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority said his probe has led to the arrest of several Russian and Uzbek nationals.

"Yes, there is a presence of a third force. There are certain facts," the chairman of the commission Abdygany Erkebayev told reporters.

"But this issue requires a further investigation that involves both politicians and the secret services of Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan," Erkebayev said.

He did not specify how many people had been arrested, saying only that they remained in custody.

Erkebayev also reiterated the Kyrgyz government's claim that former president Bakiyev and his circle helped spearhead the June violence.

He said his commission possessed information indicating that Bakiyev's son Maxim and his brother Janysh had been at the time in talks with "religious extremists" from Tajikistan and "possibly from Afghanistan."

"Bakiyev's circle bankrolled the militants and several relatives of the ex-president Bakiyev also took up arms to participate in those events," Erkebayev said.

Bakiyev's clan also "used local criminal elements including from drug gangs in the June conflict."

Erkebayev's commission also concluded that several local politicians tried to lead the Uzbeks in an ethnically driven uprising that targeted the Kyrgyz population.

The commission pointed particular blame on former Kyrgyz deputy Kadyrzhan Batyrov, whom it identified as one of the leaders of the ethnic Uzbek diaspora in Kyrgyzstan.

"The tragic events were provoked not by the Uzbek or the Kyrgyz people, but by people with extremist views," Erkebayev said.

He said Batyrov travelled across the south of the country trying to agitate support for legislative changes that assigned the Uzbek language equal status and instituted ethnic quotas for state jobs.

Batyrov organised more than 25 such meetings in the region, said the investigator, which "irritated the Kyrgyz and eventually led to the first conflict."

The violence followed the bloody April uprising centred in the capital Bishkek that ousted Bakiyev, who later fled the country and was replaced by an interim government.

Amid an uneasy calm, the country is now ruled by a coalition of nationalists and centrist forces headed by President Roza Otunbayeva.

Members of the Otunbayeva government and top security officials in particular are also "partially" responsible for the violence because they were preoccupied with the power struggle and did not do anything to prevent the unrest, said Erkebayev.

© 2011 AFP

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