Interim Kyrgyz Govt Accuses Ousted Leader of Stoking Violence

As a humanitarian crisis begins to take shape in Kyrgyzstan, the country’s interim government has blamed ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev for the ethnic violence in the city of Osh, where hundreds are feared to have died since riots started last week.

Interim President Roza Otunbayeva said on Tuesday that ethnic Kyrgyz who have been arrested for instigating the clashes have pointed to Bakiyev as being behind the violence. “Many instigators have been detained and they are giving evidence on Bakiyev’s involvement in the events. No one has doubts that he is involved,” she said.

The interim government believes Bakiyev and his supporters do not want a June 27 referendum on a new constitution to push through. Bakiyev, who is in a self-imposed exile in Belarus, has denied the accusations.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said there is evidence that the attacks were planned. Reports said five groups of ski-mask wearing men started the coordinated attacks on Thursday. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated the death toll to have reached “several hundreds.” The clashes have also displaced more than 100,000 minority Uzbeks, who are now seeking refuge near the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.