Riots in downtown Osh under control, shots heard in suburbs
Troops regained control over most of the downtown area of the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, but shots are still heard in suburbs, an eyewitness told RIA Novosti by phone on Friday.
The situation in most areas of downtown Osh is mainly calm, but shots are fired in suburbs, where armored vehicles were called in to deal with the riots. There are reports of injuries, but they have not been officially confirmed.
Late on Thursday, violence broke out in various districts of Osh reportedly following a mass brawl between various groups of young people. Groups of youths rampaged through the town, setting cars on fire and breaking shop windows. Later a huge crowd gathered in the center, near the hotel of Alai.
The ferghana.ru website said that according to unconfirmed media reports the brawl was between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. But its correspondent said he saw no signs that the violence was ethnically motivated.
"It doesn't look like ethnically motivated riots. It's just a wild mob and there is no idea of what they want," a ferghana.ru correspondent reported, adding that he heard shouts "in both Kyrgyz and Uzbek" before a stone flew into his window.
The cause of the riots is unknown as participants have not put forward any demands so far.
The interim government imposed a curfew in the city and its area, and declared the state of emergency.
Southern regions of Kyrgyzstan are considered a traditional stronghold of former president Kurmanbek Bakieyv, who took refuge there after being deposed in violent opposition riots in the capital Bishkek in April. He later fled to Belarus.
In mid-May, supporters of the deposed president staged large-scale protests in Osh and another southern city Jalal-Abad. They seized provincial administration buildings but the protests were suppressed by police and military forces. About 50 protestors were reported to be injured during the unrest.