Kyrgyzstan crisis spreads as 100,000 Uzbeks try to flee
The son of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was arrested in England on Tuesday for alleged links to the Kyrgyzstan violence. Nearly 200 have died and 100,000 ethnic Uzbeks have fled to the border with Uzbekistan.
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The Associated Press reports that the UN has urged Kyrgyzstan to stick to its June 27 timeline for holding a constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections, despite the situation in the south.Skip to next paragraph
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Bakiyev's son arrested in England
Kyrgyzstan’s interim government, which came to power after former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in bloody riots in April, has blamed Mr. Bakiyev for orchestrating the violence, possibly to disrupt the referendum. The New York Times reported that his son, Maksim Bakiyev, was arrested in England on Tuesday after the interim government accused him of provoking violence to bring his father back to power.
An analysis in Foreign Policy says that there's evidence to suggest that the former president might be involved in the violence, although Kyrgyzstan has been prone to ethnic fighting in the past:
"Kyrgyz military officials say that agents of Bakiyev dispatched well-trained mercenary snipers to Osh and Jalalabad who shot indiscriminately at locals to spread chaos. While it's not surprising that the new government would seek to pin the blame on its predecessor, there is compelling evidence to suggest that the unrest may have been carefully orchestrated. These include attempts by unidentified armed groups to seize control of TV channels, universities, and local government buildings during the fighting, unlikely targets for a mob driven purely by ethnic animosity."
A spokesman for the interim government, led by Roza Otunbayeva, told The Christian Science Monitor that Bakiyev is behind the attacks. "These destructive forces have political tasks. Roza Otunbayeva has already mentioned the fact that among the organizers are members of Bakiyev's family."
The Monitor reported Monday that the violence will having consequences for the entire region, negatively affecting stability.
And the Moscow Times says the episode will be a test for Russia. The interim Kyrgyz government has appealed to Russia for help in controlling the violence, but Moscow so far has refused, sending in 300 paratroopers Sunday only to protect its own military facilities there.
The Times suggests that how the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, seen as Russia’s answer to NATO, responds to the crisis will be a test of the alliance, whose members have recently been divided by some issues.
- Kyrgyzstan violence sends Uzbek refugees to the border
- Kyrgyz violence: Kyrgyzstan struggles to quell ethnic massacres
- Kyrgyzstan's Bakiyev charged with mass murder