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Osh Deputy Mayor Urges Calm After Uzbeks Flee City

An apartment block being built for people left homeless by ethnic clashes in the Osh region.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Officials in southern Kyrgyzstan are urging inhabitants in Osh not to panic after rumors spread about the possibility of renewed ethnic clashes in the region, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Osh Deputy Mayor Taalai Sabirov said at a meeting with local law-enforcement officials in Osh today that about 1,000 people, mainly ethnic Uzbek women and children, left the city this week and are living outside in the Aravan district, close to the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.

He said they are afraid of a resumption of clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz on Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, which is today in that region.

No violence was reported today in the Osh region.

Sabirov called on law enforcement to start a campaign explaining to local citizens that there is no reason for them to panic.

In mid-June, violent ethnic clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz left nearly 400 people dead and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.