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Bus Accident: Ferghana Governor Barring Locals from Mecca and Russia

Friday 26 January 2018

Shuhrat Ghaniyev

TASHKANT (Ferghana news agency) – In reaction to a bus accident in Kazakhstan where 52 Uzbeks are killed, the governor (hokim, حکیم) of Uzbekistan’s Ferghana region, Shuhrat Ghaniyev, harshly criticized residents of the Tashlaq district and promised toban the district residents from performing Hajj (Mecca pilgrimage), according to Ferghana news agency.

Fifty-two Uzbek nationals, including 16 residents of the Tashlaq district, were killed on January 18 after a bus they were travelling in caught fire in Kazakhstan’s north-western Aktobe. Only five passengers managed to escape the burning vehicle.

Later on the day of the fire, the Kazakh Ministry for Investments and Development stated the bus was a 29-year-old Setra with an expired technical safety certificate and no license to transport passengers.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said the bus fire accident was the evidence of lack of conditions for employment inside the country:

People are forced to seek better employment opportunities in other countries because we have not created conditions for them.

Using harsh language, Ghaniyev reacted by saying:

Is it possible that young men aged 20 to 22 will continue travelling in search of better employment opportunities? What do their parents say? Are they really deaf?

[…]

Nobody from Tashlaq will go to Hajj.

Kazakh media reported the bus is thought to have been carrying Uzbek citizens to or from Russia along the Samara-Shymkent route. The route, which is about 2,200 km long, is frequently used by Uzbek labour migrants travelling to the Russian for seasonal work.

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