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Kyrgyz Guard Injured During Shootout On Uzbek Border

TASHKENT/BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz border official says a Kyrgyz border guard was injured and taken prisoner after a shootout at on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

The official, Judar Isakulov, told RFE/RL that the incident at the Mombekov border crossing in the southern Kyrgyz region of Jalalabad was sparked by a conflict between four Kyrgyz and two Uzbek border guards.

Isakulov said about 10 local Uzbeks joined the dispute and started throwing stones at Kyrgyz border guards while more Uzbek border guards arrived and began shooting.

One Kyrgyz border guard was reportedly wounded and taken into Uzbekistan.

Isakulov said Uzbek border officials said the captured Kyrgyz border guard was transported to a hospital in the eastern region of Andijon and is in satisfactory condition.

Jalalabad regional administration official Uruzali Korasartov told RFE/RL that Kyrgyzstan has opened a criminal case against Uzbek officials and is investigating the causes of the incident.

He said measures are being taken to return the captured border guard to Kyrgyzstan.

The incident is second this year. On January 2, two Kyrgyz border guards were detained by Uzbek police in the Ala-Buka area of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border after allegedly trying to steal a cow from an Uzbek village. They were released on January 6.

The two countries currently recognize about 900 kilometers of their joint border, but some 600 kilometers are still in dispute.

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan agreed during a December visit to Tashkent by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov to restart an intergovernmental commission on the delimitation and demarcation of the border. The commission held its first meeting after a five-year break on December 29 in Tashkent.

There have been numerous border incidents between the two countries, several of them resulting in violence. Uzbekistan has also periodically closed its border crossings with Kyrgyzstan.