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Kyrgyz Border Guards Shoot Uzbek Shepherds

(RFE/RL) BISHKEK, June 30, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Authorities in Tashkent say Kyrgyz border guards illegally entered Uzbekistan today and shot and wounded two Uzbek shepherds.

In comments carried by a pro-government information website, a spokesperson for the Uzbek State Border Protection Committee said the incident took place in the Ferghana region.

The spokesperson said the wounds sustained by the two shepherds are not life-threatening.

Kyrgyz Border Guard Service spokeswoman Salkyn Abdykarieva, in turn, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service it is the Uzbek shepherds who illegally crossed the border, triggering the incident.

"There has been an incident between border guards and about 20 Uzbek citizens who illegally had their herd graze on Kyrgyz territory," she said. "In response to the demands of the border guards to take hold of their herd and leave Kyrgyzstan, the trespassers became aggressive and started throwing stones at the border guards."

Abdykarieva said the border guards shot two of the Uzbek trespassers in the leg as they were trying to seize their weapons.

Border incidents are common in Central Asia as state borders are often not properly delineated.

(with, Kabar,

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