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Explained: May 13 incident and the unrest in Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: A recent altercation at a hostel on May 13 has plunged the capital city of Kyrgyzstan into a state of unrest, sparking concerns both domestically and internationally.

Eyewitnesses and social media reports recount a clash between local students and international medical students from Egypt, allegedly stemming from harassment incidents involving female Egyptian students. The situation quickly escalated as tensions flared, leading to outbreaks of violence and riots across Bishkek.

Disturbing videos circulated online depict large mobs targeting foreign students, exacerbating panic and anger within the community. While rumors circulated of fatalities and assaults on Pakistani students, the Pakistani embassy, in coordination with the Kyrgyz government, refuted these claims, confirming only minor injuries to Pakistani nationals.

In the aftermath of the initial confrontation, local residents mobilized, demanding action against the foreign students involved. Several individuals were detained for breaching public order, including three Egyptian citizens.

The clashes resulted in 29 reported injuries, with 15 individuals requiring hospitalization. Among the wounded was a Pakistani national who sustained a fractured jaw, receiving a visit from Kyrgyz Minister of Health Alymkadyr Beishenaliev.

Authorities have filed charges against suspects under Article 280, part 2, paragraph 1 (hooliganism) of the Kyrgyz Republic’s Criminal Code. Meanwhile, international concern mounts, particularly among Indian and Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan. Advisories from both countries urged their students to exercise caution and remain indoors.

As investigations continue, tension remains high, highlighting the need for talks and actions to prevent more violence. The repercussions of the May 13 clash resonate throughout the city, emphasizing the imperative for swift action and reconciliation efforts.

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