At least 49 people have been killed and over 400 injured in the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, officials said Saturday, adding that the situation was still tense.
The fighting between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek groups began Thursday night in the country’s second largest city of Osh.
“The situation in Osh remains very difficult,” an interior ministry spokesperson told RIA Novosti.
Osh was the stronghold of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was overthrown after violent street protests in April.
“We’re clearly talking about a stand-off between two ethnicities. We need to... calm these people down, and this is what we are doing right now,” interim leader Roza Otunbayeva said.
Medics have been unable to reach many of the injured people due to the fighting.
“Our doctors practically didn’t go out on calls at night because they were afraid,” the 24 kg news agency quoted a doctor in Osh as saying.
He added that doctors who had attempted to reach the injured had been attacked.
The U.N. has appealed for calm and has called on Kyrgyzstan’s interim government to “pay particular attention to inter-ethnic relations in the country”.
Both Russia and the US have military bases in the country, which many experts fear may now be on the brink of civil war.