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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Uzbek Agents Offer Cash

OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Uzbek security agents are offering large amounts of money to people in this impoverished region to turn in people who fled to neighboring Kyrgyzstan after an uprising that was violently put down, rights activists and others say.

The agents are also trying to stir up ethnic tensions in the region to make Uzbeks return to their country, said people interviewed by The Associated Press.

Hundreds of Uzbeks took refuge in Kyrgyzstan after a May 13 uprising in the Uzbek city of Andijan was violently put down by police and troops.

After the violence, according to local activists and residents, Uzbek authorities began a massive operation in southern Kyrgyzstan trying to return those who had fled -- some to be prosecuted and others so that they could not give accounts to the outside world about what happened in Andijan.

The governor of the Osh region, Anvar Artykov, said, "It's quite possible that Uzbek agents are searching around here."

In June, Kyrgyzstan secretly handed over four Uzbeks to Uzbekistan in violation of its obligations under the international refugee and anti-torture conventions -- torture is routinely used in Uzbek jails, a UN report said.

Dilyor Jumabayev, a spokesman for the radical Islamic party Hizb-ut-Tahrir in Osh, said, citing police sources, that the four were sold by Kyrgyz police to Uzbeks for $25,000. Jumabayev claimed as many as 20 Uzbek agents were operating in Kara Suu, a border town.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Uzbekistan, calls for formation of an Islamic caliphate.

Izatullo Rakhmatullayev, a rights activist in Osh, said that in June, Kyrgyz police had helped Uzbek authorities to catch and transfer to Uzbekistan at least two Uzbeks who fled after the Andijan violence but were outside the refugee camp.

A journalist in Osh, Alisher Saipov, said he was approached by a man who said he was an officer from the Andijan security service and offered him $10,000 for helping him track down a leader of the uprising, Kabuljon Parpiyev.