Situation calm in Bishkek but gunshots ring over Kyrgyzstan's south
The situation in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek is calming down Wednesday but riots are continuing to plague the country's southern regions of Osh and Jalalabad with gunshots still being heard, Xinhua reported.
Early Wednesday in downtown Bishkek, business is gradually coming back to normal as stores, supermarkets, hotels and gas stations open their doors. Kids can be seen playing on the streets.
But compared with ordinary days, there are much fewer pedestrians and cars on the streets. Most people prefer to stay indoors for fear of any fresh riots, a driver told Xinhua reporters.
Meanwhile, in the southern city of Osh, the security situation remains tense with gunshots being frequently heard and robberies occurring from time to time. Some stores are running out of goods, and there is a severe shortage of food and drinking water supplies, according to Xinhua witnesses.
The Kyrgyz military has now taken complete control of the Osh airport, where governments of China, Russia, India and Turkey are evacuating their nationals. Armed vehicles from the Kyrgyz military provide protection to foreigners on their way to the airport to guard against attacks by mobs. A Chinese working group organizing the evacuation has been provided with some body armors by the Kyrgyz military.
A total of 1,000 Chinese citizens have now been sent home and about 200 more are still waiting for evacuation in Osh, according to an official from China Southern Airlines.
China is expected to complete the evacuation in two days, the official added.
At least 170 people have been killed and more than 1,760 injured in the clashes between Kyrgyzstan's ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyzs in Osh and Jalalabad since last week, the worst violence witnessed by the country since 1990, according to official figures from the interim government.
However, interim leader Roza Otunbayevan was quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency as saying the actual death toll could be "several times" higher than the official numbers.
The United Nations has said the ethnic clashes were "orchestrated, targeted and well-planned" and urged Bishkek to take urgent actions to stamp out the violence.