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Kyrgyz Village Leaders Taken Hostage By Uzbeks

The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border is not always so clearly marked.
The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border is not always so clearly marked.
BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- The leaders of two Kyrgyz villages were briefly taken hostage by Uzbek farmers, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Sabira Musaeva, a witness from the village of Boz near the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, told RFE/RL that inhabitants of village of Khushiyar, across the border in Uzbekistan, began throwing stones at Kyrgyz vehicles crossing the border and then blocked the Batken-Sogment highway.

The heads of the Kyrgyz villages of Kyshtut and Sogment came to resolve the standoff but were abducted by Uzbek villagers, Musaeva said.

They were released three hours after regional governors came to negotiate.

Dastan Khodjaev, governor of Kyrgyzstan's Batken district, says the problem was caused by disagreements over livestock pastures.

National borders in Central Asia are often unmarked and the territory disputed, causing problems for locals living in the border region.