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ASTANA -- Two Kyrgyz shepherds were killed and a Kazakh border guard wounded in a shoot-out on the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border, RFE/RL's Kazakh and Kyrgyz services report.

Kazakh Border Guard Service deputy head Amangeldy Abylkanov told journalists in Astana that the incident took place near the Saty checkpoint on July 13.

Abylkanov said Kazakh border guards stopped a group of Kyrgyz shepherds moving a herd of horses from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan along a high mountain path.

When the border guards asked the shepherds to show their identification documents, he said they opened fire and severely wounded a border guard.

"The border guards had to fight back and two of the shepherds, who turned out to be Kyrgyz nationals, were killed in the shoot-out," Abylkanov said.

Another man with the shepherds was detained, and Abylkanov said he confessed that he and his associates were trying to smuggle the horses into Kyrgyzstan.

The border guards confiscated three guns and 20 horses from the group.

Meanwhile, another group of five people was detained by border guards on the same stretch of the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border later on July 13. The group was moving some 400 goats and sheep from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan.

Two of the five are Kazakh citizens, but the nationality of the other three is unknown. Two guns were confiscated from them.

Kyrgyz Border Guard Service Deputy Chairman Ilyaz Subankulov confirmed the incidents to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service.

The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry told RFE/RL an investigation is under way.
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