Kyrgyzstan faces refugee crisis in unrest

By June 15, 2010

Kyrgyzstan (MNN) — Kyrgyzstan's refugee crisis continues to
balloon, with over 100,000 Uzbeks fleeing 
a deadly purge over the borders. 

Five days of violence are evident in the smoking ruins of the south.

Joel Griffith with Slavic Gospel Association explains,
"The ethnic Uzbeks were supportive of one side or another in this coup
that took place which overthrew the previous president. I think some of that has
caused some of the ethnic tensions to come to bear." 

In southern Kyrgyzstan, the majority of people are ethnic Uzbeks and
Muslim, and many have remained loyal to Kurmankbek Bakiyev, the former
president, ousted in April. The provisional government in Bishkek fears he
provoked the ethnic tensions in order to put himself back in power.   

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is meeting with central
Asian officials to try to end the bloodshed.   Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan's interim
government extended a state of emergency throughout the Jalalabad region.

According to Voice of the Martyrs Canada, ethnic Kyrgyz and
Uzbeks are typically assumed to be Muslim, whereas ethnic Russians are
considered Christian. This can cause added problems for Muslims who desire to
convert to Christianity.

With the movement of thousands of people and unrest, what
kind of impact will there be on SGA's ministry? Griffith says so far, so good. "The
impact on evangelical churches in Kyrgyzstan has been minimal. We are trying to establish some contact with
our resources over there to find out exactly what the situation is for them on
the ground. We've heard nothing thus far that causes us immediate concern." 

SGA is still assessing their best response. The humanitarian crisis is looming, but
Griffith says, "We certainly are calling for intercessory prayer for
believers in that region, that the Lord would not only protect and sustain them
during this unrest, but also that there would be opportunities for the

There will be plenty of opportunity to help SGA with
funds. For now, click here for prayer

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