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Markets Closed After Chinese Traders Killed In Bishkek

BISHKEK -- Two major markets in the Kyrgyz capital have been closed after the killings of two ethnic Chinese traders, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The traders were found dead in Bishkek's Taatan-2 market on March 12 with stab wounds and showing signs of having been beaten. The men were aged 42 and 48 years.

Both the Taatan-1 and Taatan-2 markets were closed today because of the killings.

Dozens of Chinese traders who live in Bishkek picketed the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan today, calling for the "proper reaction to the killing of their two fellow traders."

Several Kyrgyz of Dungan origin were arrested in the village of Sadovoye outside of Bishkek on March 13. Dungans are Chinese Muslims who have been living in Central Asia -- mainly in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan -- since the 19th century.

Meerim Akmatalieva, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek, told RFE/RL that the embassy would transport the bodies of the slain traders to their relatives in China after Kyrgyz officials complete forensic tests.

There are an estimated 50,000 Dungans living in Kyrgyzstan and some 35,000 in Kazakhstan.

There are officially about 18,000 Chinese living in Kyrgyzstan but unofficial estimates say there are about 50,000.

Read more in Kyrgyz here