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Uzbeks Release Kyrgyz Border Guard To Complete Exchange

Cholponbek Turusbekov
Cholponbek Turusbekov
BISHKEK -- Uzbek authorities today released a Kyrgyz border guard one day after an exchange of border officials between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Kyrgyz Border Guard Service Deputy Commander Cholponbek Turusbekov told RFE/RL that on September 5 Kyrgyzstan released three Uzbek customs officers and one Uzbek national security officer and handed them over to the Uzbek side. The Uzbek authorities, in turn, released three Kyrgyz border guards.

Turusbekov said Colonel Ismatilla Anarbaev's release today was delayed by additional negotiations between the two sides over unspecified border issues.

Turusbekov said Uzbek border guards detained the two senior Kyrgyz border officers, Anarbaev and Colonel Ziyad Begmatov, on August 31 near the southern Kyrgyz village of Pulgon in the Kadamjay district, which borders Uzbekistan.

He said they were detained when they went to a checkpoint to resolve problems that had arisen after Uzbekistan closed all of its border crossings with Kyrgyzstan for three days in connection with Uzbekistan's Independence Day celebrations on September 1.

The Uzbek authorities detained two more Kyrgyz border guards that day near the Ala-Buga border crossing in Kyrgyzstan's Jalal-Abad Oblast.

It is not clear when or for what reason the Kyrgyz border guards detained their four Uzbek counterparts.