Eyewitness Accounts

by Nathan Hamm on 5/31/2005 · 1 comment

RFE/RL has some translated eyewitness accounts of the Andijon massacre. From a woman:

“Everyone tried to get out along that street. ‘If we follow this road, we’ll reach Teshiktosh early in the morning,’ they said. Women, children, all of us set out. We were wet, muddy, and bloody. We asked for clothes from people along the way. Someone gave us a suit; another one gave us a jumper. We would rest for five minutes along the way. People picked up and carried the women and children who couldn’t walk.

“If we don’t make it by dawn, they’ll catch up with us and start shooting, we thought. But if we reach Teshiktosh and cross over to Kyrgyzstan, we’ll be safe from the soldiers’ bullets, we thought.

“In order to keep from sinking in the mud in the cotton fields, we came out on the highway for a while. Soldiers unexpectedly opened fire. They’d been waiting to ambush us. Those who were hit fell dead. Women screamed and threw themselves to the ground. The ones toward the back ran away. A 6-year-old girl took a bullet in her leg. A woman was shot in the back. A young man died before my eyes. An old woman was shot in the leg. A lot of people were shot. We found a place to hide.

And from an elderly man:

When I came home, I couldn’t sleep. I went out on the street early in the morning. The soldiers wouldn’t let anyone get close to the dead bodies. They brought a KamAZ (large truck) and filled it with bodies. Before that, several vehicles had departed with bodies. They collected the bodies by evening. I saw them loading the men and women mixed in together.

They stacked the bodies like wood in the KamAZ, there were so many. When they brought a Zil [truck], you could still see the bodies even after they closed up the back. Those vehicles left in the direction of Soy.

There was a river of blood on the pavement. You could see blood in the ditches. The bodies of young men aged 20 to 30 lay crumpled. A woman arrived and began screaming. Her young brother had been a painter. He had a red bicycle. He’d been working at someone’s place. They shot this kid to pieces. There was no one to help the woman. No one could help anyone.

There’s also a passage about the death of the city prosecutor at the hands of a mob. I think these accounts again highlight the need for their to be more openness to allowing investigation into what happened. Secrecy breeds suscpicion and conspiracy theories.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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