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Chinese Officials Help To ID Gunmen Killed By Kyrgyz Border Guards

BISHKEK -- Chinese Embassy officials are in Kyrgyzstan's northern Issyk-Kul region to help identify the 11 gunmen killed by Kyrgyz border guards on January 23.

The acting chief of the Kyrgyz Border Guarding Service, Raiymberdy Duishonbiev, told journalists the following day that the men may be Islamic insurgents from China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

He said they may have crossed the border after being chased by Chinese security forces.

Duishonbiev said a Kyrgyz forest ranger, Aleksandr Barykin, tried to stop the gunmen, killing two before border guards arrived.

Barykin was killed in the incident.

Duishonbiev said he had been beheaded.

President Almazbek Atambaev announced on January 24 that Barykin will be posthumously awarded for heroism.

Last week, Xinjiang authorities doubled their budget for fighting "terrorism" following an unusually bloody year of antigovernment attacks by alleged Uyghur separatists inspired by radical Islam.