June 14th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Thousands flee ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan

CNN Wire Staff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/world/2010/06/14/chance.kyrgyzstan.violence.cnn.640×360.jpg caption="Dozens dead and more than 1,400 injured due to ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan." width=300 height=169]

Osh, Kyrgyzstan– Smoke rose over the streets of Osh and sporadic gunfire could be heard Monday as ethnic groups continued to battle in the strategically important Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan.

An estimated 80,000 ethnic Uzbeks have fled the ongoing clashes against ethnic Kyrgyz, causing one aid official to describe the situation as a "humanitarian catastrophe," according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

At least 114 people have been killed in the clashes, and another 1,458 have been wounded, Kyrgystan's national news agency AKI Press reported Sunday.

It is the most serious outbreak of ethnic violence in the former Soviet republic since 1990, when hundreds died after clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Osh, the country's second city.

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