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Asia-Pacific

Kyrgyz authorities try to impose order a day after riots

media A resident of Mayevka surveying the destruction to her house, 20 April Photo: Reuters

Authorities in Kyrgyzstan were trying to impose order on Tuesday, a day after deadly riots left five people dead in the village of Mayevka. Hundreds of police were present in the village outside the capital Bishkek following clashes involving ethnic Kyrgyz who attempted to seize land from ethnic Russians and Turks.

“Provocateurs and ringleaders in the riots will be punished to the full extent of the law,” the interim Kyrgyz government said in a statement.

Meanwhile in Bishkek, supporters of the land seizures tried to hold protests but were met with a heavy police presence.

Police held 130 people allegedly involved in the riots, the Kyrgyz interior ministry said in a statement. Two of the five killed died from gunshots wounds, according to the health ministry, while another 40 people were injured, including 10 members of the police.

Clearly the rule of law is not instilled across the country
Analyst Ana Jelenkovic 20/04/2010 - by Sarah Elzas Listen

"Underlying ethnic tension has often times been exaggerated and manipulated by different political forces, but I would say the attacks on the small Turkish minority and the Russian minority is seen to be much more exacerbated by socio-economic [factors]," Ana Jelenkovic, an analyst with the Eurasia group told RFI.

"We’re seeing similar types of things in other regions where its not necessarily ethnic violence. In the Talas region for instance, the community in the region remains very unstable and a lot of that anger is targeted at either foreign entities operating in that region, or at the local land owners, and it’s certainly not ethnic in nature, but the end result looks the same."

In Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev voiced support for the interim government, which overthrew Kyrgyzstan’s president earlier this month.

“Both Uzbekistan and Russia want the authorities in Kyrgyzstan to be strong and people of Kyrgyzstan to develop and flourish,” news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying.

Almost 20 houses were burnt and looted in Mayevka, which is home to a mix of Russians, Kyrgyz and Meskhetian Turks.

The interim government has yet to assert full control over the ex-Soviet republic which was scene of a popular uprising that ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

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