Kyrgyzstan Refugees Return Home

Nearly half of the 100,000 refugees displaced by recent ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan have returned to their homes, authorities have reported.

The mass influx comes nearly a week after intense violence between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the country's southern region left 208 people dead, according to government reports, although some officials believe the tolls are significantly higher.

Small skirmishes erupted on Monday as Kyrgyz troops cleared barricades and did security sweeps of houses in the region. Two residents were reportedly killed and dozens more hospitalized from beatings.

Humanitarian groups are continuing to supply aid to the refugees and others affected by the conflict, although there have been warnings that such aid could affect local market infrastructure.

The United Nations has called meetings to coordinate the agencies working on the ground to ensure that their efforts are productive.

Last Friday, the U.N. launched a $71 million appeal to assist more than 1 million people who have been affected by the violence.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan's interim government is pushing to pass a constitutional referendum that will allow it secure power before October's parliamentary vote.

The government has insisted the referendum is vital to bringing stability to the country, which experienced a coup in April, although some believe the measure will heighten tensions.

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