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Kyrgyz-Tajik Border Situation 'Tense' But Stable

Border guards and police on both sides of the frontier were reportedly out in force on May 8 to keep the peace.
Border guards and police on both sides of the frontier were reportedly out in force on May 8 to keep the peace.
One day after at least 25 people were injured in a clash between villagers in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, officials in both countries described the situation along their common border as "tense" but stable.

Border guards and police on both sides of the frontier were reportedly out in force on May 8 after some 1,500 residents of the Kok Tash village in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan's Vorukh exclave fell into conflict during the evening of May 7 and started throwing stones at each other.

It took border guards and police from both countries several hours to restore order in the area.

Kyrgyz authorities say 17 of its citizens were injured and Tajik authorities say eight of its citizens were also hurt.

Tajikistan's independent news agency Asia-Plus cited a source in the administration of Tajikistan's northern Sughd region, which borders Kyrgyzstan, as saying a group of young Kyrgyz citizens were throwing stones at the vehicle of a resident of Tajikistan's Vorukh exclave.

"A big crowd gathered from both sides," the source said, and after exchanging insults, started throwing rocks at each other.

Kyrgyzstan's privately-owned AKIpress website reported that Tajik citizens were throwing stones at a vehicle owned by a Kyrgyz citizen who was traveling along the Batken-Isfara road, which connects the two countries.

Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry summoned Tajikistan's ambassador to protest an incident during the clash when Kyrgyzstan says citizens of Tajikistan torched a petrol station, a store, and two trucks near the Kyrgyz settlement of Kok-Terek.

Several hundred residents of Kok Tash demonstrated on May 8, demanding that the border between the two countries be demarcated as soon as possible.

Kyrgyzstan's Deputy Prime Minister Abdyrakhman Mamataliev and State Border Service Deputy Chairman Abdikarim Alimbaev have gone to the scene of the clash as has the head of the Sughd internal affairs directorate General Sharif Nazarov.

There have been sporadic clashes between villagers on either side of the border for several years.

The largest road in the area winds back and forth between the two countries and their exclaves. Large stretches of the border are not delimitated and water and farmland ownership issues have sparked tensions between the two communities.

In January, when Kyrgyzstan attempted to construct a detour around Tajikistan's Vorukh exclave, shooting broke out between border guards of the two countries.

Several border guards on both sides were wounded.
With reporting by Asia-Plus, AKIpress and Interfax
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