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Moscow Police Detain More Than 100 Central Asian Migrants After Clashes

Migrant workers outside the Unified Migration Center in Moscow. (file photo)

MOSCOW -- Police in Moscow have detained more than 100 Central Asian labor migrants after a mass brawl erupted between Kyrgyz and Tajik citizens in the Russian capital's southeastern district of Kuzminki.

The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry's representative in Moscow, Nurlan Jabaev, told RFE/RL on July 13 that more than 70 of the detained individuals are Kyrgyz nationals, adding that a probe has been launched into the brawl, which took place overnight.

According to Jabaev, the conflict between Kyrgyz and Tajik labor migrants stemmed from a similar clash on July 9, during which a Kyrgyz man was stabbed and hospitalized.

Russian media reports on July 13 said that there had been another conflict between Kyrgyz and Tajik migrant workers two days earlier in the town of Khimki near Moscow, in which two Kyrgyz citizens were stabbed and rushed to the hospital.

A leader of the Kyrgyz diaspora in Moscow, Elmira Eshanova, confirmed to RFE/RL that two Kyrgyz nationals were stabbed during a clash with Tajik migrant workers on July 11 in Khimki.

"The situation needs to be stopped and similar clashes between the nationals of the two countries must be prevented before it turns into a larger conflict," Eshanova said.

Earlier in May, a mass brawl between Kyrgyz and Tajik labor migrants was reported in a cafe in Moscow's southwest. Six people were hospitalized and nine men were arrested as a result of the incident.

Tensions between Kyrgyz and Tajik labor migrants in Russia escalated after a deadly conflict along a disputed segment of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in April where border troops from both sides opened fire. The violence left dozens of people dead and dozens of homes destroyed.

Kyrgyzstan reported 36 deaths from the violence at the time, mostly civilians, while Tajik officials said 19 of its citizens died in the clashes.

There are some 750,000 Kyrgyz and about 1 million Tajik labor migrants working in Russia.