Story of Ilkhom
Ilkhom is a refugee from the Uzbek village of Bazar-Kurgan, Kyrgyzstan. He is an Uzbek survivor of the ethnic violence that tore apart Southern Kyrgyzstan in early June of 2010 and was the only refugee who agreed for his story to be made public.
As the militants who committed the recent atrocities are still free and have yet to be brought to justice, most of the hundreds of survivors we spoke with were too scared for their lives and the lives of their loved ones to have their stories published. Finally, however, it seemed that Ilkhom did not care anymore. He had lost all hope that anything good would ever happen to him again.
On the morning of June 13, 2010, he recounts that he heard screams and gunshots. Rumors quickly spread that his neighbours – fellow citizens of different ethnicity. They were planning to throw ethnic Uzbeks out of their homes.
Later in the day, several significant gangs armed with metal poles and sticks, some with automatic rifles and firebombs, stormed the village destroying property and everything around. They set cars and houses on fire and tortured residents, including women and children. Many of the Uzbeks who could not escape were brutally assaulted or killed.
Ilkhom took his wife, kids, and his frail mother and jumped into an old bus that a neighbor ran for local transport and escaped to Uzbekistan with other refugees. His father did not want to leave his home, where he had lived. After a few hours of hearing screams and gunshots, he could no longer ignore them and left the safety of his house to help his neighbors. Unfortunately, a bullet hit his stomach, and he was left lying unconscious outside for many hours. He was eventually taken to the hospital but died the next day.
He does not know if the gangs might return to kill him as he is working or to attack his family while he is away.
Written by Rethinking Refugees