Rumors in Kyrgyzstan are strong destabilizing factor

Rumors in Kyrgyzstan are strong destabilizing factor

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 10 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova /

On the very eve of the anniversary of last year's tragic inter-ethnic riots between the Krygyz and Uzbeks in the south of Kyrgyzstan, rumors are spreading that similar riots may recur. The rumors and possibility of riots present a serious threat to the country's stability, Kyrgyz expert Sergei Masaulov said.

Last year's riots lasted from June 10-13. Though the official figures reported that 442 people were killed and more than 1,500 injured, unofficial information sources state that roughly 800 people were killed during the first days of the riots.

Amnesty International warned that on the eve of the anniversary a new wave of ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan is possible.

Masaulov said that the likelihood of the events recurring is not so great, although the chances cannot be completely denied. Masaulov further commented that it is difficult to assess the real situation as of now.

"Many areas are dominated by rumors," Masaulov told Trend by phone from Bishkek. "Rumors are the most dangerous ground for unrest and clashes, thus one cannot remove the threat of last year's events from the agenda."

Perhaps Amnesty International simply expressed concern rather than the actual possibility of conflicts.

The expert said that the country's leadership must take actions to protect against these events.

"It seems necessary to refrain from making these sorts of statements, as the Kyrgyz parliament does," Masaulov said. "It constantly denies certain paragraphs of the International Commission report headed by Kimmo Kiljunen."

The report of an independent commission investigating the June events, led by Kiljunen, was presented in Bishkek in early May. It caused a loud public outcry both at home and abroad. According to the report, the main cause of the tragedy in southern Kyrgyzstan is ethno-political fanaticism.

The analyst said that the report and the head of an international group should not be placed under attack. The report must simply be taken into account and, if necessary, discussions held concerning some of its provisions, but with a full respect of the other party's position.

"The parliament's behavior seems unwarranted in this case," Masaulov said.

It is necessary to strengthen and organize the civil society system in the south on site.
Many residents from Bishkek travel to the south with their kids to show relatives and friends that they are not afraid of conflict, the expert said.

The expert said that the public is specifically asked to neutralize rumors and prevent possible future instability.

Masaulov said that it is also necessary not only to organize a helpline, but also inform law enforcement agencies about the appearance of suspicious individuals or groups of people.

"But it is also important for these bodies to act promptly in accordance with the present situation," the analyst said.

Uzbek leaders must make a clear political statement that they have no desire for separatism, as Kyrgyz citizens express their support for strengthening the sovereignty of the republic to promote stability in the south of Kyrgyzstan.

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