Deadly ethnic unrest escalates in southern KyrgyzstanBBC News
: Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Sunday, 13 June 2010 16:05 UKViolence is spreading in southern Kyrgyzstan on the third day of ethnic fighting which officials say has claimed nearly 100 lives.
Witnesses speak of Kyrgyz men shooting ethnic Uzbeks and setting property alight; a BBC correspondent in the city of Osh has heard heavy gunfire.
Tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks have fled to nearby Uzbekistan.
On Saturday the interim government gave security forces shoot-to-kill powers and urged Russia to send in troops.
Moscow says it has no plans to intervene. But a battalion of paratroops would be sent to protect Russian facilities in the country, Interfax news agency reported, quoting a security source.
Both Russia and the United States have military bases in the north of the country.'Shoot-outs'
Kyrgyzstan's interim government extended a state of emergency to cover the entire southern Jalalabad region, as ethnic clashes spread there from neighbouring Osh.
One resident in Jalalabad said fighting was going on throughout the city.
"At the current moment, there are shoot-outs going on in the streets," he told the AFP news agency by telephone.
"There is a veil of smoke covering the whole city," another resident told AFP. He said buildings on fire included a shopping centre.
Without international assistance there are fears the interim authorities will struggle to contain the conflict, the BBC's Rayhan Demytrie in Osh reports.
She says buildings are ablaze in Osh - television pictures show street after street of burnt-out buildings and black smoke billowing in the air.
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was ousted in April and now lives in Belarus, has denied accusations from the government that he is involved in the unrest.'We need food'
The south of Kyrgyzstan, an ex-Soviet Central Asian state of 5.5 million people, is home to an ethnic Uzbek minority of almost one million.
Ethnic Uzbek eyewitnesses told our correspondent at a border crossing with Uzbekistan that gangs of armed Kyrgyz had been marauding through neighbourhoods, killing residents and burning homes.
One woman pleaded for help: "We need food, we need water, I have got two sons and they are little and I need water and food to survive."
Uzbek emergency officials said at least 30,000 people had crossed the border from Kyrgyzstan.
The International Committee of the Red Cross also said it had received reports of tens of thousands people fleeing fighting and looting.
There have also been reports of Kyrgyz casualties.
One Kyrgyz family the BBC spoke to by telephone said an Uzbek boy armed with a gun shot dead three Kyrgyz men who were approaching them.
Pakistan says one of its citizens, a student, has been killed in Osh and it is investigating reports that 15 others have been taken hostage.
More than 1,000 people have been wounded in the violence, the authorities say. Some reports say the casualty figures could be much higher.
The clashes are the worst ethnic violence to hit southern Kyrgyzstan since 1990, when several hundred people were killed. Kyrgyzstan was then part of the Soviet Union, which sent in troops to quell the unrest.