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Uzbeks Free Kyrgyz Held Over Mine Explosives

OSH -- Eleven Kyrgyz nationals detained in Uzbekistan while transporting explosives used for mining work have been released and returned to Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The Kyrgyz were detained by Uzbek border guards at the Javaghy border crossing on July 23 while transporting 40 tons of explosives from a chemical plant in Tajikistan.

Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry officials have been negotiating with the Uzbek authorities for a week to secure their release.

The explosives belong to the KyrgyzGeoloTekhKomplekt geological corporation, which uses them for mining operations. The corporation's senior manager, Taalai Kudushev, told RFE/RL that the explosives were still in Uzbekistan. He said additional documentation was being prepared in order to expedite the transportation of the explosives to Kyrgyzstan. He said that could take up to one month.

KyrgyzGeoloTekhKomplekt officials told RFE/RL last week that varying quantities of the same explosive had been transported regularly from Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan via Uzbekistan for several years without any problems.