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Kazakh Officials Deny Mass Clashes In South Were Ethnic

Kazakhstan's interior minister says two people have been hospitalized and four others detained by police after clashes in a southern village where most residents are ethnic Uzbeks.

Regional police department spokeswoman Saltanat Qarakozova told RFE/RL that dozens of ethnic Kazakhs from the village of Madani came to mostly ethnic-Uzbek Qaramurat on August 27 and attacked local residents, broke into shops, and damaged several cars.

Interior Minister Qamukhanbet Qasymov said on August 29 that the clashes in the Central Asian country had nothing to do with the ethnicity of those involved.

But there were also scuffles between residents of the two villages three days earlier.

Most members of Kazakhstan's 500,000-strong ethnic Uzbek minority live in the South Kazakhstan region, which borders Uzbekistan.

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