OSH, Kyrgyzstan — Kyrgyzstan's weak military attempted Wednesday to regain control of the city of Osh, a major transit point for Afghan heroin and the epicenter of ethnic violence that has driven much of the Uzbek population from the country's poor, rural south.
Troops encircled the city with checkpoints and held the central square, but citizens reported that some soldiers also were looting food aid, casting doubt on the government's ability to re-establish stability after nearly a week of brutal attacks.
The leader of Kyrgyzstan's Uzbek community said the death toll among Uzbeks exceeded 300. The official toll on both sides is 189, although officials have acknowledged it is likely far higher. More than 100,000 Uzbeks have fled to Uzbekistan, with tens of thousands more camped on the Kyrgyz side of the border.