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Government numbers on casualties in Andijon are still far off from what civilians have reported 16 June 2005 -- Uzbek officials said today the official death toll for last month's clashes in eastern Uzbekistan has climbed to 176 and now includes several dozen civilians.

The government has rejected rights activists' claims that up to 750 people died in the 13 May crackdown.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Anvar Nabiev said today at a meeting with foreign diplomats that 176 people were killed in
Andijon, including 45 civilians.

The Uzbek government had said earlier that 173 people -- 32 law enforcement officers and the rest mostly militants -- had
been killed. Officials had said 14 civilians died as hostages shot by militants.

Nabiev gave no explanation for the higher death toll. He said the casualties included 79 militants, 31 security officials, and 45 civilians.

(AP/AFP)
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