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Osh Protesters Want International Oversight Of Kyrgyz Forces

Kyrgyz Army soldiers march in formation in the city of Osh on June 29.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Some 200 protesters in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh held a protest calling for the "internationalization" of the Kyrgyz army and law enforcement agencies, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The demonstration was held in front of the Osh city administration building on July 2. Protesters want international oversight of the army and police forces.

They also called for an objective investigation into the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan and for an intensified search of the people still reported missing.

Protesters met with Osh Deputy Mayor Alymjan Baygazakov, who promised to pass on the demands to the Osh mayor.

Political anaysts say the ethnic Uzbek community in the Osh region lacks confidence in the Kyrgyz Army due to its largely monoethnic composition. Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva has also cited this problem among Kyrgyz security forces and said the army and police must include more ethnic minorities.

About 15 percent of Kyrgyzstan's population is made up of ethnic Uzbeks.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has discussed the idea of sending an international police force to Osh to help restore confidence in the security forces.

More than 50 people went missing during the ethnic violence in the Osh region. Others are also still missing in Jalal-Abad.

At least 300 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people, mainly ethnic Uzbeks, fled their homes during the days after the fighting started on June 10.