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Kyrgyz-Uzbek Group Wants Joint Public-Order Squads In Osh

Men walk past a burning building in Osh as riots spread on June 11.
Men walk past a burning building in Osh as riots spread on June 11.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- The head of a youth group in Osh says it is trying to coordinate the activities of informal public-security groups that are springing up in the southern Kyrgyz city in a bid to prevent further violence, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports.

The remarks by Youth of Osh leader Aijan Toktosheva came after a day of clashes between groups of Kyrgyz and Uzbek youths claimed at least 50 lives.

Interim authorities sent troops to Osh and declared a state of emergency in the city and surrounding areas.

But Toktosheva told RFE/RL few police or army personnel are visible on the streets, and the telephone hotline for the local authorities seems to be always busy.

Toktosheva said she and her colleagues are trying to coordinate the activities of ad-hoc defense groups of city inhabitants to prevent further violence.

"Our team is interethnic in its composition,” she said. “We are proposing setting up Kyrgyz-Uzbek joint vigilante groups. City residents are getting organized into self-defense groups in their districts. We want to create public squads to prevent the interethnic [hatred] from spreading, to help rescue people in danger, and support communication between people."

Toktosheva said her group “needs the representatives of local government, policemen, or soldiers to accompany our squads to patrol the streets.”

Youth of Osh, comprising Kyrgyz and Uzbek youth, provides services to young people in education and social matters.