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A camp at Teshiktash on the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border, the first stopping point for many of the refugees from Andijon in May 2005 (ITAR-TASS)
PRAGUE, July 17, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports that nine refugees who fled the violence in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon last year have returned home with the help of the Uzbek Embassy in the United States.
The nine had reportedly been given asylum in the United States and were living in the southwestern state of Arizona.
They boarded a flight to Uzbekistan on July 13. The reasons behind their return are unclear.
One Uzbek refugee who was transported by the UN to the Czech Republic said he believed the Uzbek president, Islam Karimov, had given "personal" guarantees of safety if they return home and that others planned to join the nine who just went back.
"We trust there is great goodness and kindness ahead of us," he said.
The UN transported 439 Uzbek refugees to third countries last year. Many others remain in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, living illegally but afraid to return to Uzbekistan.