Accessibility links

Breaking News

Police Detain Suspected Attackers Of Migrants In Russia's Sakha-Yakutia Region


Yakutsk Mayor Sardana Avksentyeva speaks during a rally against illegal migration in Yakutsk on March 18.

YAKUTSK, Russia -- Police in Russia's Sakha-Yakutia region have detained a group of people accused of attacking migrants from Central Asia following the arrest of a Kyrgyz man suspected of raping a local woman.

Police in the regional capital, Yakutsk, told RFE/RL on March 20 that several people were detained but did not say how many.

The police in Yakutsk have called on residents to avoid "inciting ethnic hatred."

Tensions rose in Yakutsk, 4,900 kilometers east of Moscow, after police said on March 17 that a 23-year-old Kyrgyz citizen was arrested on suspicion of abducting and raping a 36-year-old woman a day earlier.

Amid reports of attacks on migrants, many businesses owned and operated by people from Central Asia were closed on March 19, and dozens of buses usually driven by Central Asian migrants were not operating.

About 200 protesters rallied in downtown Yakutsk on March 17, demanding the deportation of all labor migrants from Central Asia, and some 5,000 people gathered at a stadium on March 18 to voice anger over the alleged crime.

A high-level delegation from Kyrgyzstan met with regional and local officials on March 18 to discuss the situation.

Yakutsk Mayor Sardana Avksentyeva said on March 19 that all companies that employ migrant laborers would be inspected in an effort to determine whether they employ any illegal migrants.

There are some 30,000 Kyrgyz citizens living in Sakha-Yakutia, including more than 8,000 in Yakutsk, according to Avksentyeva.

Yakuts, a Turkic-speaking indigenous people, make up about half of the vast region's population of roughly 1 million.

There is tension between labor migrants from Central Asia and other residents, including ethnic Russians and other indigenous groups, in cities across Russia.