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Uzbekistan Demands Kyrgyzstan Punish 'Attackers' Of Uzbek Border Guards

Tashkent, 25 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry has demanded that Kyrgyz authorities bring to justice Kyrgyz citizens that Uzbekistan says attacked Uzbek border guards last week. The ministry's press service said late yesterday that while Uzbekistan deeply regrets the tragic death of a Kyrgyz citizen, Uzbekistan demands that "the people involved in the attack on the Uzbek border guards be immediately brought to justice."

On 16 July, a group of Kyrgyz citizens argued with Uzbek border guards over an illegally built, small foot bridge connecting the two countries over the Shakhrikhansarai canal. Uzbek border guards shot and killed a 21-year-old Kyrgyz citizen.

Kyrgyz authorities say four Kyrgyz citizens approached the Uzbek border guards to negotiate crossings on the bridge and an argument broke out at which time the Uzbek border guards shot the Kyrgyz citizen.

Uzbekistan says a group of 40 Kyrgyz citizens, already illegally inside Uzbekistan, attacked the guards with rocks and Molotov cocktails.