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By Egamberdy Kabulov
DZHALAL-ABAD, Kyrgyzstan – The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry (MVD) staged a show of strength June 4-5 ahead of the first anniversary of the June 2010 ethnic riots.
In Dzhalal-Abad city’s central square, Deputy Interior Minister Melis Turganbayev reviewed oblast and city units of police, Special Forces, internal troops and volunteer patrols.
“This is a demonstration of our strength,” he said. “We want to reassure the population … that we can keep order.”
A year ago, more than 400 people died in rioting between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan. Some have raised concern that violence could arise in conjunction with the anniversary of the 2010 riots.
About 1,000 reinforcements have come to Dzhalal-Abad Oblast from the north, Turganbayev said.
“We refused both to disperse our forces and to create many checkpoints,” he said. “It’ll be much more effective to rapidly deploy additional forces to any sites of disturbances than to assemble them from different points.”
The oblast and city governments have extended co-operation to MVD agencies, Turganbayev said.
“Additional vehicles have been provided for mobile delivery of special forces and internal troops to remote areas,” said Dzhalal-Abad Oblast Governor Bektur Asanov. “We’re helping create favourable conditions for the arrival of reinforcements coming to our oblast.”
However, Dzhalal-Abad retiree Raimkul Nazarov remains concerned that the reinforcements won’t be enough to control all possible conflict sites.
“On June 10, the anniversary of the start of the violence, everybody will be going to mosque since it’s Friday,” Nazarov said. “People also will be going to graveyards to read prayers for the dead. Provocations are possible.”
However, the situation at this time does not merit undue alarm, Turganbayev said.
“Besides the troops, agents not only of the police but also of the State Committee for National Security are at work,” he said. “They’re checking out even rumours of possible conflicts. We won’t allow any repetition of (last year’s) events.”
The army will not be summoned to help maintain order, he emphasised.