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Kyrgyz Commission Begins Investigating Ethnic Clashes

An ethnic Uzbek woman cries as she passes by a burned-out house in Osh on June 24.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- A Kyrgyz government commission today began investigating the causes of the deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the southern Kyrgyz regions of Osh and Jalal-Abad in June, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Members of the National Commission met with people from the predominantly ethnic Uzbek villages of Mady, Shark, and Kyzyl-Kyshtak in the Kara-Suu district of Osh Oblast. Several villagers shared their personal stories and feelings regarding the unrest in the region.

At least 365 people died and hundreds were injured in the violent clashes. Hundreds of thousands had to flee their homes.

The National Commission was established by a presidential decree. Representatives of many ethnic groups are included on the commission, which is led by former parliament speaker Abdygany Erkebaev.

He said today that the commission will meet with victims and witnesses of the violence, government officials, and nongovernmental organization activists in an attempt to find out whether the violence could have been prevented or at least stopped sooner.

The commission's preliminary report is to be sent to President Roza Otunbaeva by September 10. Otunbaeva has said an international commission will also be formed to investigate the ethnic clashes.