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Kyrgyz Official Says Foreigners Among Detained Snipers

Police prepare to enter a home in an Uzbek district of Osh on June 22.
Police prepare to enter a home in an Uzbek district of Osh on June 22.
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz officials have said that seven of about 20 suspected snipers detained by security forces are foreigners, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Kyrgyz State Security Service chief Keneshbek Duishebaev made the announcement while telling journalists on June 22 that the suspects were captured in special operations by security forces in Kyrgyzstan's Jalal-Abad and Osh regions.

Duishebaev did not specify the citizenship of the detained foreign nationals. He said that 40 explosives and 20 guns were confiscated in the city of Osh during security operations on June 21.

Kyrgyz rights activists criticized security forces for the alleged violent treatment and robbery of ethnic Uzbeks during a special operation in Osh's Nariman district the same day.

The Kyrgyz interim government stated earlier in the day that security forces had to open fire as some inhabitants of Nariman district refused to surrender their weapons and resisted the operation to remove barricades on the streets.

Osh Oblast Deputy Commandant Zamirbek Moldoshev told RFE/RL that Osh prosecutors have launched investigations into the cases of alleged beatings and robberies of ethnic Uzbeks in Nariman.

Kyrgyz interim President Roza Otunbaeva visited several Uzbek districts in Osh and Jalal-Abad on June 22, including Nariman, where she met with local inhabitants promising them a full and thorough investigation into the events that led to the ethnic clashes.

The Kyrgyz Health Ministry announced that the confirmed death toll in clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions since June 10 had reached 251 people. Nearly 2,000 others have been reported injured in the violence.