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Mayor Of Kyrgyz City Criticizes Home Reconstruction Plan

A burned down house in Tashlak, a village outside Osh.
A burned down house in Tashlak, a village outside Osh.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- The controversial mayor of the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Melis Myrzakmatov, says homes damaged or destroyed in interethnic clashes in mid-June are being rebuilt without his consent, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Myrzakmatov told journalists on November 4 that the majority of the Osh city homes damaged in June are situated in "complicated" areas from a seismological point of view. He said he and his associates have been raising that issue since construction of the new houses started, but "no one took those concerns into consideration."

Myrzakmatov added that some areas inhabited mainly by ethnic Uzbeks have been reconstructed in the same way they were before the riots during which they were burned down.

"Nobody burnt each of the houses in the Uzbek districts, they were just built in such a way that if one of the houses is set on fire all the other houses [nearby] will catch fire easily, and some of the new houses are being built in the same way," he said.

Myrzakmatov added that all Osh residents whose new homes are not ready by winter will be given shelter in local sanatoriums and hotels.

Myrzakmatov is considered controversial due to his connections with ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev, who appointed him to his post, and his severe criticism of interim government officials in Bishkek.

The interim government tried to remove him as mayor earlier this summer, but after protests by locals, he remained in office. He took an extended vacation and was not seen at his office for several weeks after an August meeting with President Roza Otunbaeva in Bishkek.

Osh was shaken by deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in mid-June. More than 400 people died and hundreds were injured in the fighting in Osh and the neighboring Jalal-Abad region.