Thursday, May 19, 2005
U.S. urges Andijan probe
From Voice of America:
The United States Wednesday urged a credible and transparent investigation of the violent unrest in Uzbekistan late last week that may have left hundreds of people dead. The State Department said it is becoming apparent that Uzbek security forces used indiscriminate force against civilian protesters in the city of Andijan.
At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said there needs to be a credible and transparent investigation of the events, either undertaken or supported by the international community.
He said, while the United States is still trying to develop a clearer picture of what occurred in Andijan, evidence is building that there were large-scale casualties among civilians:
"I would have to say that reports being compiled paint a very disturbing picture of the events and the government of Uzbekistan's reaction to them. It's becoming apparent that very large numbers of civilians were killed by the indiscriminate use of force by Uzbek forces. We deeply regret that loss of life, and are deeply concerned of reports of indiscriminate firing by Uzbek authorities on demonstrators last Friday," said Mr. Boucher.
Mr. Boucher said it is also clear that the violent episode began with an armed attack by anti-government elements on a prison and other state facilities, and said that violence also cannot be justified and should be investigated.