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Phone Theft Leads To Kyrgyz-Chinese Clashes

Kyrgyz authorities at the scene after the violence broke out between local residents in Uzgen and workers from China on January 9.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- In Kyrgyzstan's southern Osh region, a dispute over a theft turned into a clash between more than 100 local citizens and Chinese workers.

Osh regional police spokesman told RFE/RL that a group of Chinese workers in the district of Uzgen held several local residents hostage on January 8, claiming that one of them had stolen a mobile phone.

Five policemen were reportedly taken hostage by Chinese.

The fighting in the village of Kurshab injured dozens of people, including at least 16 Chinese citizens and five Kyrgyz police officers.

Local police say those involved in the fighting and hostage-taking face charges of illegal deprivation of freedom, hooliganism, the organizing of mass disorder, and violence against law enforcement officials.

The Osh region was the scene of violent ethnic clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in 2010.