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Russian Muslim Clerics Visit Troubled Kyrgyz City


Interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbaeva (left) talks to a patient wounded during ethnic clashes as she visits a hospital in Jalal-Abad today.

Interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbaeva (left) talks to a patient wounded during ethnic clashes as she visits a hospital in Jalal-Abad today.

JALAL-ABAD, Kyrgyzstan -- A delegation from Russia's Islamic affairs board (muftiyat) is in the southern Kyrgyz city of Jalal-Abad today, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Officials from the opposition Ata-Jurt (Native Land) party told RFE/RL that muftiyat members Abdul-Wahid Niyazov, Danir Mukhetdinov, and Arif Saidov are in Jalal-Abad meeting with locals. The delegation arrived earlier today and said they came to contribute to reconciliation "between the two Muslim ethnic groups, Kyrgyz and Uzbek."

Clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the southern cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad that erupted 10 days ago left at least 200 dead and injured hundreds more. Hundreds of thousands of people -- mostly Uzbek women and children -- fled the two cities for Uzbekistan and other parts of Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan's interim government announced late last week that the situation in the two cities was under control, but a fresh outbreak of violence today claimed at least two lives when security forces clashed with ethnic Uzbeks in an Osh neighborhood.

Acting Justice Minister Aida Salyanova said in Bishkek today that a referendum on a new constitution for the country will be held as planned on June 27 in all regions, including Osh and Jalal-Abad.
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