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Uzbek Border Guards 'Blockade Kazakh Village'

ARNASAI, Kazakhstan -- Officials of a village near Kazakhstan's southern border with Uzbekistan say they have been cut off by Uzbek border guards for several days, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Arnasai village governor Basymbek Kalzhigitov told journalists today that the Shardara-Zhetysai highway has been blocked by Uzbek border guards since June 7. Part of the highway crosses Uzbek territory.

After the delimitation of the Kazakh-Uzbek border several years ago, Arnasai became an exclave surrounded by Uzbek territory. The northern part of the village is connected with Kazakhstan via the Shardara reservoir. The village population is approximately 650.

According to Kalzhigitov, the village has enough food to last three days, but some families have already run out of drinking water.

The Uzbek side has not given any explanation for blocking the highway. Officials from South Kazakhstan Oblast's Shardara district are currently holding talks on the situation with their Uzbek counterparts.