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Kyrgyz Ex-Minister Apologizes For Not Preventing Ethnic Clashes

Doctors treat a victim of the ethnic violence in Osh in June 2010.
BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz Interior Minister Bolot Sher today apologized to the country for his role in not preventing the deadly clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan last year, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Sher also said in parliament today that he is giving up his deputy mandate and relinquishing his military rank of lieutenant general.

Sher made his statement while the legislature discussed a state commission report on the causes and consequences of the deadly ethnic violence that took place last year.

That report, issued in January, said several senior officials in the provisional government, including Sher, had failed to act promptly as the conflict evolved.

Sher today publicly apologized to the people of Kyrgyzstan for "being unable to prevent the clashes" and said he fully accepts his share of responsibility for the tragedy.

He also announced that he will quit the Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party.

More than 400 people were killed and thousands injured and/or displaced during the clashes in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions last year.

Sher was given the rank of lieutenant general after former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev was toppled by antigovernment protests in Bishkek on April 7 last year. He was interior minister at the time of the June 10-14 unrest.

Read more in Kyrgyz here