An independent inquiry has found that Kyrgyz security forces may have been complicit in ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan which killed 470 people last year. The Kyrgyz government has angrily rejected many of the allegations.
Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee the violence
An international report released Tuesday suggests that government forces in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan may have been complicit in ethic violence in the country in June last year.
The inquiry by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also cited government weaknesses as a key factor in the rioting which left a total of 470 people dead and displaced some 411,000.
According to the international probe, which had originally been backed by the Kyrgyz government, ethnic Uzbeks bore the brunt of the violence in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad.
The OSCE report said it would have been possible to prevent or stop the violence had the military been properly instructed and deployed. "The failure of the security forces to protect their equipment against seizure raises questions of complicity," it said.
The violence followed the ousting of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April last year following protests that also left dozens dead.
Led by Kimmo Kiljunen, the OSCE special representative for Central Asia, the commission said a subsequent "power vacuum" and fragile state institutions had boosted ethnic Kyrgyz nationalism thereafter.
The country is now led by Rosa Otunbayeva
"The basic responsibility of any government is to protect all its citizens, which obligation was not fulfilled in southern Kyrgyzstan last June," Kiljunen said in a statement.
The Kyrgyz government angrily rejected the commission findings in a point-by-point rebuttal of its own.
"The circumstances from which the conflict arose were not due to the provisional government and were not from the events of April-May, 2010," the government said. "They were the result of protracted policies implemented by former regimes."
A former Soviet state, Kyrgyzstan is a volatile yet key strategic region for Europe and Russia.
Author: Darren Mara (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner