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150 Kyrgyz Villagers Evacuated Near Tajik Border As Tensions Flare Over Raising Of National Flags

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Kyrgyzstan's State Border Service has confirmed that five people were injured in the incident on July 22.

One-hundred fifty women and children were evacuated from a village in southern Kyrgyzstan over a simmering conflict near the Vorukh Tajik border, Interfax reported on July 23.

Overnight, officials in the Kyrgyz region of Batken decided to evacuate them from the village of Ak-Sai, said Damira Yusupova, a spokeswoman for the regional police department.

Officials say clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan left at least one dead and several more wounded on July 22.

Gafurjon Juraev, the head of the Tojikon quarter of the Vorukh council on the Tajik side of the border told RFE/RL that one local resident had been killed and seven more wounded during the clashes, which erupted on July 22. He said Kyrgyz villagers used hunting guns in the violence, while Tajiks threw stones.

Tensions spilled over when villagers in Tajikistan's Vorukh exclave in the Ferghana Valley began instaling Tajik flags on the Isfara-Vorukh road, which angered Kyrgyz villagers. The road has now been blocked by Kyrgyz residents as troops restore calm.

Kyrgyzstan's State Border Service has confirmed that five people were injured in the incident.

Villagers on both sides of the post-Soviet neighbors's borders have been hanging flags ahead of visits by the presidents of the two countries to the region.

According to an unconfirmed report, clashes erupted in the village of Khoja A'lo as well.

Many border areas in Central Asian former Soviet republics have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the volatile Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet.

With reporting by Interfax
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