Uzbek IDs seized ahead of Kyrgyz vote

OSH, Kyrgyzstan, June 21 (UPI) -- Uzbek villagers near the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh said security forces with the interim government destroyed their personal identification cards.

Uzbeks told correspondents with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that Kyrgyz forces raided the southern village of Nariman, destroying many of their personal documents in a Monday assault.


RFE/RL reporters said government forces were seen leaving the area Monday.

Ethnic violence between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks has displaced 300,000 people within Kyrgyzstan and forced 100,000 others to flee Kyrgyzstan, the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimated.

Interim President Rosa Otunbayeva visited Osh amid heavy security last week promising to work hard so people can return home.

Otunbayeva took power when her supporters deposed Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April. She promised to have a constitutional referendum Sunday, though RFE/RL notes voters cannot take part in the measure without identification cards.

Kyrgyz authorities said the latest raids near Osh were to take down roadblocks set up by ethnic Uzbeks and to check identification cards for suspected criminals.

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