February 04, 2013
Hazing Behind Mass Desertion From Kyrgyz Military Unit
Thirty-nine Kyrgyz soldiers have deserted their unit in Bishkek, the capital, overnight.
Their relatives said on February 4 that the reason for the mass desertion was hazing.
The relatives told journalists the soldiers had phoned them and said that they would return to their military unit only if the commander of their battalion was replaced.
All the soldiers are veteran conscripts who were preparing to be discharged by summer.
Their current whereabouts are unknown.
Hazing has long been a serious problem in the Kyrgyz Army and has led to several conscripts being killed in the past.
The current situation is unprecedented in Kyrgyzstan's modern history, for 39 veteran conscripts from the same unit to desert in one day.
Based on reporting by KyrTAG and Interfax
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