Charred corpses lay in the streets of Uzbek neighbourhoods in the Kyrgyzstan city of Osh on Monday as people hid from gunshots and fresh fires amid spiralling ethnic violence.
All in a day
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that the situation in Kyrgyzstan is intolerable and constitutes a regional emergency.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday that 80,000 refugees have arrived in Uzbekistan after fleeing clashes in Kyrgyzstan and that 15,000 more are waiting at the border to cross.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that an air force plane would fly the students back home from Kyrgyzstan. He also said so far 40 of the 247 trapped students were brought to safety.
Uzbek men, armed with makeshift weapons, stood on guard outside their homes while women and children hid in basements, fearing what new horror may lie in store for them.
"This will be remembered... It's impossible to live together, we will never live together again," growled Uzbek resident Akbar, angry tears springing to his eyes.
He clutched a hatchet as he described the days of deadly violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks raging across the Central Asian state's southern Ferghana Valley.
An AFP journalist was shown video footage of the burials of dozens of bodies — with visible bullet wounds, many of them badly burnt — that residents said they had filmed in the four days of violence.
"There are at least 1,000 dead here in Osh. We have not been able to register them because they turn us away at the hospital and say it is only for Kyrgyz," Isamidin Kudbidunov, 27, said.
People in ethnic Uzbek enclaves, areas referred to locally ‘Mahallas', accused Kyrgyz government forces of taking part in brutal mob violence against Uzbek natives of the south of the ex-Soviet state.
It is "a planned government genocide against the Uzbek people!" Akbar cried.
The violence exploded on Friday in Osh when ethnic Kyrgyz gangs began attacking shops and homes of ethnic Uzbeks, igniting tensions between the two dominant ethnic groups in the region that have simmered for a generation.