Soviet Interior Minister Vadim Bakatin said yesterday that ethnic riots had killed 48 people in the Central Asian republic of Kirghizia and had spread to neighboring Uzbekistan. Mr. Bakatin said 333 people were injured in four days of violence which began over a land dispute between Kirghiz and ethnic Uzbeks in the town of Osh.
Bakatin told the Supreme Soviet that 2,850 troops were sent to Kirghizia to maintain order.
Although the situation in Osh was stabilized, ``a crowd of many thousand people, armed with pikes, stones, and weapons is standing at the border between [the Uzbek towns of] Andizhan and Osh, trying to avenge their grievances,'' he said.
Several thousand people were roaming around the Kirghiz capital of Frunze demanding to be transported to Osh to participate in the conflict, he said. The Soviet news agency Tass earlier reported that crowds of students packed the main square of Frunze to stage fresh protests over the ethnic violence.