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Ethnic Tensions High In Southern Kazakhstan

Police in the South Kazakhstan region have detained more than 30 local residents to prevent possible ethnic clashes amid ongoing tension between local Tajiks and Kazakhs over an unconfirmed rape case.

The South Kazakhstan regional authorities say 34 people were detained on August 2 after unknown assailants burned the door of a local shop in the village of Ghani Muratbaev and set two houses and several cars on fire in the nearby village of Dikhan.

On August 1, several local residents in the village of Seifullin, mainly Tajiks, were attacked by Kazakhs amid rumors that a seven-year-old Kazakh girl was raped by a Tajik teenager.

Police officials said on August 1 that medical examination of the girl did not confirm that she had been raped.

Some 170 police officers have been deployed in the area to prevent possible ethnic clashes.

With reporting by Tengrinews