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Kurdish Leader In Kyrgyzstan Blames Opposition For Unrest

Protesters in Petrovka on April 27

Protesters in Petrovka on April 27

BISHKEK -- The leader of ethnic Kurds in Kyrgyzstan is accusing opposition parties of organizing the unrest in the town of Petrovka on April 26 and April 27.

Ramazan Seyidov told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that opposition groups stoked tensions in the town with the reported crime that was allegedly committed by an ethnic Kurd.

Thousands of locals in Petrovka gathered on April 26 to demand that the hundreds of ethnic Kurds living in the town leave.

The unrest was caused by the alleged rape of a 4-year-old ethnic Russian girl by a 22-year-old Kurdish man.

Kyrgyz parliament deputy Raisa Sidorenko of the pro-presidential Ak Jol (Bright Path) party said on April 28 that some opposition leaders have tried to use the situation in Petrovka to further their political goals.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev blamed local officials and the police for delaying the investigation and prosecution of the alleged crime.