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Security tightened in Bishkek following Kyrgyzstan violence

Riot police in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan










Update: Friday 9 April 2010

All children and staff in the SOS projects in Bishkek and Cholpon-Ata are safe. Due to the unstable situation especially in the capital, precautionary measures are still in place. Gulnaz Sairova, Director of SOS Children's Villages in Kyrgyzstan, hopes that from Monday on, the situation will be calmer and that life will be more or less back to normal.
During last night, the situation in Bishkek seemed to escalate as many looters from different regions of Kyrgyzstan tried to rob big business and trade centres, banks etc. Meanwhile, the army, police and volunteer groups seem to have the situation under control and re-established order. According to Gulnaz, most banks will be closed till Monday; also shops and market places are still not opened. Today the country is holding a day of national mourning for the victims of the bloody protests which ousted the government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Thursday 8 April  

According to various news sources, more than 60 people were killed and many more wounded in the capital of Bishkek on Wednesday, while the President has been forced to flee the country.

Scenes of violence have been seen across the capital city with clashes between police and protesters.  The state of emergency and curfew, for Bishkek and two other cities, which came into force yesterday continues today.

Gulnaz Sairova, the SOS National Director in Kyrgyzstan said "All our children and people in SOS are safe."  The situation is becoming worse and Ms Learing skills at Bishtek, KyrgyzstanSairova commented that due to the insecure situation in town all co-workers have left the office to see their families and stay at home.

However, security has been reinforced by hired security personnel and the situation at the SOS Children's Village Cholpon-Ata is stable for the moment. The SOS School and the SOS Nursery School will remain closed today (Thursday), since the situation on the streets is unstable and dangerous and our colleagues in Bishkek have reported that widespread looting is taking place in markets and trade centers.

SOS Children has been working in Kyrgyzstan since 1999, when the first of two Children's Villages opened at Bishkek.  Post communism the country has struggled economically and children are at great risk of being abandoned by their families, with many parents unable to cope.  A second SOS Children's Village opened in Cholpon Ata in 2002, giving a family for life to around 80 children.  Schools at Bishkek and Cholpon Ata provide education to SOS children and those children from the local neighbourhood.  An SOS Family Strengthening Programme runs in Kyrgyzstan supporting 400 vulnerable children and their families in the local communities.