Ongoing civil unrest in Kyrgyzstan in central Asia has culminated in a threat from ethnic Uzbeks, who have seized the largest oil depot in southern Kyrgyzstan with the warning they will blow it up unless the interim government provides security for them to leave safely.
Uzbeks constructed barricades around the oil terminal, a facility in Nariman village, which stores most of the petrol distributed to the region. Outside Kyrgyz military forces are positioned to re-take the depot.
The Uzbeks have requested escort by Russian or international forces, claiming that they do not trust Kyrgyz security forces. More than 100,000 ethnic Uzbeks, mainly women and children, have fled across the border to Uzbekistan, according to figures from Unicef, after five days in which armed gangs roamed the towns of Osh and Jalalabad, shooting and setting streets on fire.
Reports come in that 179 are dead, but the Kyrgyz government says that the true figure could be several times that.
Kyrgyzstan's interim leaders have struggled to impose their authority over the Muslim-majority country since a revolt in April toppled the southern-born President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.