Kyrgyzstan declares day of mourning

By June 16, 2010

Kyrgyzstan (MNN) — Kyrgyzstan's interim government declared
Wednesday a day of mourning for the victims of ethnic violence. A state of emergency remains in effect until
June 22 and imposes an overnight curfew from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Uzbeks have mostly backed the interim government, while many
Kyrgyz in the south have supported the ousted leader, Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

It's motive enough to suspect a grab for power, although
Bakiyev vehemently denies any role in the unrest.

However, new reports strengthened suspicions that the five
days of ethnic violence was ignited to undermine the interim government. 'Jeff'
collaborated with Audio Scripture Ministries while working in Kyrgyzstan, and he agrees. "The ethnic tension is being used as the
tool, but the issue is the unaddressed ethnic tension that has been there for a
long time."

Despite pointing fingers of blame, the results were costly. Red Cross reports indicate several hundred
died in the bloodshed. Any hopes the
chaos would hinder the vote were dashed, too. There are no plans to delay a
June 27 referendum on the new constitution.

The fighting targeted minority Uzbeks and sent over 100,000 refugees
fleeing for their lives to Uzbekistan. The
influx of survivors forced Uzbekistan to close the border yesterday, leaving
many wounded on the Kyrgyz side without medical care, food, water or shelter.

'Jeff' says that as the country descended into chaos, it
became clear that the Gospel transcends ethnicity. "Kyrgyz pastors were
hiding Uzbek believers and non-believers in their homes. I thought, 'This is
what we need!' We need believers standing up to say, 'We will not fall victim
to the nationalism, or ethnic pride. We will first be kingdom people. We will
first be followers of Jesus.'"

Believers are  agents
of change. ‘Jeff' says the uncertainty
gives them a chance to put actions behind their words. "It's a great opportune moment that God
is giving us for the church not just to be groups that are meeting in these
buildings on Sundays, but to be out in society, saying, 'We will rebuild homes,
bring food, bring supplies.'"

It's still dangerous for those who remain. ‘Jeff' says, "We need to pray that Christians
would have wisdom to know how to reach out, but also that they would really
bring the Good News." They are
working with an NGO (non-government organization) to address the physical
needs. For security reasons, we cannot
put a direct link, however, we can connect you through Audio Scripture Ministries. Click here for ASM's contact information.

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