An international human rights group is warning that torture and arbitrary detention of ethnic Uzbeks by police in Kyrgyzstan could lead to a new wave of violence.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement Wednesday that Uzbeks are being disproportionately arrested — and at times choked and burned with cigarettes — as part of a government drive to investigate and punish those responsible for deadly ethnic riots last month.

Hundreds of people, mainly minority Uzbeks, were killed in rampages by ethnic Kyrgyz through their neighborhoods in June. Hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks were forced to flee their homes. Kyrgyz authorities have yet to agree to demands for an international inquiry into the violence, which is thought to have been deliberately provoked.

Associated Press