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Clinton: Allegations about Kyrgyz violence must be 'taken seriously'

From Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
  • Ouster of president in April contributing to violence
  • Clinton: Difficult to tell what is caused by political vs. ethnic differences
  • Bakiyev loyalists in police and military affected

Washington (CNN) -- The situation in Kyrgystan is much more complex than initial reports indicate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday, and allegations that violence in that Central Asian country has been instigated "have to be taken seriously."

"I think it would be premature to conclude what the source of this outbreak of violence is but there are a number of factors contributing," Clinton told reporters at the State Department. Among those factors, she listed the April ouster of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

"Certainly the ouster of President Bakiyev some months ago left behind those who were still his loyalists and very against the provisional government," Clinton said. "There certainly have been allegations of instigation that have to be taken seriously."

Bakiyev's removal, she said, "has rippled through police and military establishment."

There have been allegations that members of the Kyrgyz military have carried out brutal attacks on ethnic Uzbek living in Kyrgyzstan. Clinton said "it is difficult to tell how much arises from pre-existing ethnic or political differences and how much was instigated and by whom and for what purpose."

The United States, she said, now is "trying to do everything we can with the very serious humanitarian crisis" in the country. Thursday the secretary spoke by phone with interim Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva and with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov.

One theory on causes for the violence was an attempt, Clinton said, to prevent a referendum vote on the new Kyrgyz constitution. The true reasons are not clear, she said, "there are many moving actors and circumstances."

The United States is working with the international community, she said, to help the provisional government, working with the Uzbek government, trying to get humanitarian aid to those in need and to stabilize the country. As for the cause of the violence, Clinton says, "We are all searching for answers, there are many different factors at work."

On Thursday, the United States it was donating $32.6 million in aid for Kyrgyzstan.