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11 Kazakh Border 'Deserters' Found

Kazakh border officials say 11 conscripts who went missing from their post on the Kazakh-Chinese border have been found alive.

The incident sparked heightened concerns in light of a recent massacre at a remote border post in which 15 people were killed.

Officials said the soldiers in the more recent case had deserted their post in the northeastern district of Zaisan on June 18 and were found the following day in a village in the East Kazakhstan region.

It was not immediately clear why they left their post, at Terisairyq.

The border service said earlier that the desertion may have been a result of military hazing. All 11 of the alleged deserters were conscripted to the army in November 2011, officials said.

Three weeks ago, 14 Kazakh border guards and a forest ranger were found dead in Kazakhstan's southeast, also on the border with China.

Authorities say a 15th border guard from the outpost, 19-year-old Vladislav Chelakh, has confessed to those killings. Chelakh reportedly stated in the confession that he was the victim of bullying at the hands of his fellow guards.

Based on reporting by KazTAG, AP, and Interfax

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