Uzbeks killed by Kyrgyz forces

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The Independent Online

Kyrgyzstan's security forces clashed with ethnic Uzbeks in the south of the country yesterday, where up to 2,000 people were killed in a wave of bloodletting earlier this month.

Rights groups said four people were killed and more than 20 wounded when Kyrgyz forces raided an Uzbek village near Osh, epicentre of the ethnic clashes that broke out on 10 June. The authorities put the death toll at two, saying security forces had run into "armed resistance".

Speaking during a visit to nearby Jalalabad, Kyrgyz interim leader Roza Otunbayeva pledged to press ahead with a referendum on a new constitution on Sunday despite security concerns.

"Holding this referendum has become necessary because we must create a legal framework," said Ms Otunbayeva, who came to power after a revolt in April. "If we allow any delays, this will threaten us with further instability."

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