Uzbekistan: fire on demonstrators

Eight Uzbek soldiers and three Islamic militants died in a clash near the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Kyrgyz border Sunday and more than 500 Uzbeks fled to safety across the frontier, villagers said, according to The Associated Press.

About 500 bodies were laid out in the nearby city of Andijan where troops fired on a crowd of protesters two days earlier.

Residents` accounts of the fighting in Tefektosh could not be independently confirmed, but blood stains were visible on the pavement, AP reported.

Villagers in the border town of Tefektosh said several troops were killed in a pre-dawn skirmish between armed men and government forces. One villager who declined to give his name said eight government troops were killed, tells CNN News.

According to the Times Online, ARMED men fought government forces near the city of Andijan in eastern Uzbekistan yesterday as witnesses reported that up to 600 people were killed when troops had opened fire on demonstrators.

Rebels killed several troops in the border town of Tefektosh as thousands of refugees tried to flee over the closed frontier to Kyrgyzstan to escape the worst violence in &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Uzbekistan since its independence in 1991.

In Korasuv, a town 50km (30 miles) east of Andijan, government offices and police cars were set alight. Protesters forced the mayor to reopen two river bridges that link the Uzbek and Kyrgyz sectors. The crossings had been closed by the authorities two years ago.

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