Hundreds Flee To Kyrgyzstan After Deadly Ethnic Clashes In Rural Kazakhstan
The clashes, which erupted overnight on February 8, were some of the worst ethnic violence in years in the Zhambyl region in southern Kazakhstan, sending hundreds across the border into neighboring Kyrgyzstan. It is not yet known what sparked the violence, which pitted ethnic Kazakhs against Dungans, a Muslim group of Chinese origin. At least eight people were killed and dozens wounded, with houses torched and cars overturned in a number of small towns. Dungans make up much of the population in Masanchi, which was the worst-hit village, and many of the town's businesses are controlled by Dungan families. Some of those seeking shelter with relatives or friends in Kyrgyzstan told RFE/RL that rumors might have triggered the events, but it is unclear what they were about.