Uzbek troops leave Kyrgyzstan

BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan, June 3 (UPI) -- Uzbekistan has pulled its troops out of an enclave in Kyrgyzstan and allowed residents back into the area, provisional leaders said.

Uzbekistan earlier this week dispatched police and military forces to the Uzbek enclave of Sokh in Kyrgyzstan to greet area protesters.


Hundreds of residents in the Uzbek enclave blocked a main highway to Uzbekistan to call for security for Kyrgyz citizens.

The protesters said several cars belonging to Kyrgyz citizens were damaged in the area in recent days.

Uzbek authorities closed the border with Kyrgyzstan following the April uprising that removed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev from power.

A spokesman for the provincial Kyrgyz leader in the region said Uzbekistan has removed its forces from the area, Kyrgyz news agency reports.

Interim leaders in Bishkek said scores of people were injured or killed during ethnic clashes in the south of the country. Thousands of backers of Bakiyev have protested in the south in recent weeks, calling for justice against leaders of the Uzbek community.

Bakiyev supporters blame ethnic Uzbeks for inciting unrest. Ethnic clashes erupted when Kyrgyz authorities stopped letting Sokh residents use regional pastures.

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