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    Death toll in Kyrgyz ethnic clashes jumps to 294 - Health Ministry

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    The death toll in ethnic violence in the south of the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan has increased to 294 people, 24.kg news agency said citing the country's Health Ministry

    The death toll in ethnic violence in the south of the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan has increased to 294 people, 24.kg news agency said citing the country's Health Ministry.

    Earlier a total of 283 people were reported dead.

    According to official information, the number of injured now stands at 2,238, including 1,047 hospitalized and 1,190 patients who received out-patient treatment.

    Kyrgyz authorities admit, though, that the actual number of casualties may be ten times higher.

    Clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, who account for about 15% of Kyrgyzstan's population, broke out in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh on June 11, lasting several days and spreading to nearby Jalalabad.

    UNICEF says over 100,000 refugees fled to neighboring Uzbekistan during the clashes, while the United Nations says around 400,000 have been displaced by the unrest.

    Some 70,000 displaced persons have returned to Kyrgyzstan so far.

    The situation in Kyrgyzstan remains highly volatile, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) proposed on Wednesday sending international police to prevent the spread of violence in the Central Asian republic.

    According to preliminary results on the new Kyrgyz Constitution referendum held on Sunday, 90.84% of voters approved amendments to the Constitution, whereas 7.84% voted against it. Total turnout was around 70% of all registered voters. The referendum on the new Constitution particularly envisages a parliamentary republic in the country, giving less power to the president.

    Sunday's referendum followed several days of ethnic violence in the south of the country earlier in the month and 7,500 police were deployed to ensure security during the poll, which officials said passed off with no major disturbances.

    MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti)

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