State of emergency declared in second Kyrgyz city

08:34, June 13, 2010      

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A state of emergency was declared Saturday in a second city in southern Kyrgyzstan due to spreading riots and instability, Kyrgyz media reported.

The curfew and state of emergency imposed Friday in the southern city of Osh was extended to the neighboring city of Jalalabad, according to the national television.

The interim government took the measure "because instability is spreading (in the region)," deputy interim minister Azimbek Beknadzarov was quoted as saying.

Earlier, Kyrgyz interim leader Roza Otunbayeva appealed for Russian military support to maintain order in the south of the country.

However, a senior Russian military official said Russian troops stationed in Kyrgyzstan as security for Russia's Kant military base would not be used to restore order.

"These military units have a strict mission, and they will not be used for other purposes," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted the source as saying.

After talking with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin by phone late Friday night, Otunbayeva told reporters Saturday a written appeal had been sent to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"Since yesterday evening the situation has gone over the edge, we need the input of other military forces to stop the situation. In this concern, we appealed for help to Russia," the interim leader said.

Medvedev said Friday that Russia was ready to assist if necessary.

"I believe all the existing problems will be resolved by the Kyrgyz authorities. The Russian Federation will help," he said.

However, troops from the post-soviet security bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) would not enter Kyrgyzstan, Medvedev said.

That could only happen if one of the block -- Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan -- was attacked by a foreign state, the Russian president said.

Following the eruption of violence, Russian and Kyrgyz airlines have cancelled flights between Moscow and Osh, the second largest city of Kyrgyzstan where the unrest originated due to inter-ethnic clashes.

The death toll has risen to 63 with another 838 injured.

The current clashes followed violence in May when supporters of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev clashed with supporters of the interim government in Osh and Jalalabad.

Bakiyev was ousted in April when riots broke out across the country. At least 85 people were killed and thousands of others injured in those clashes.

Kyrgyzstan is expected to vote on a new constitution later this month, followed by new parliamentary elections in October.



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