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Uzbek refugees leaving Kyrgyzstan for Romania in July Bishkek, 14 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A Kyrgyz official today said that 11 Uzbeks who fled eastern Uzbekistan into Kyrgyzstan will soon be sent to western European countries.

Zafar Khakimov, head of the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry's Migration Department, said Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General Azimbek Beknazarov has ordered the 11 be released from detention, adding that the United Nations has granted them refugee status.

"These 11 people have received refugee status from the UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] and in about two or three days they will be taken to a third country," he said.

Khakimov said the 11 will be soon be sent to Finland, The Netherlands, and Sweden. He also said that Kyrgyz authorities are still handling the legal cases of four remaining Uzbeks who have been denied refugee status.

The 11 were part of a wave of hundreds of Uzbeks who fled into Kyrgyzstan after an uprising and a severe Uzbek military crackdown in Uzbekistan's eastern town of Andijon in May.

Kyrgyzstan earlier allowed over 400 of the refugees to be transported to Romania. Several others remained in detention at Uzbekistan's request. Uzbekistan wanted them sent home, accusing them of criminal activities.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, AP)

For more on the bloody events in Andijon see Unrest in Uzbekistan
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