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Uzbek Man Arrested For 'Assaulting' Governor During Ethnic Unrest

The Sokh district administration said that 187 local residents were injured in the May 31 clashes.
The Sokh district administration said that 187 local residents were injured in the May 31 clashes.

A 23-year-old man has been detained for taking part in ethnic unrest and assaulting the regional governor during the recent strife in the troubled Sokh enclave in Uzbekistan's Ferghana Province.

Davlatjon Mallaev was detaied by police when he traveled to the regional capital, Ferghana city, on August 10, his mother said on August 19.

Nasimakhon Mallaeva said she found out about her son's arrest from local authorities, whom she contacted after Mallaev failed to return home to Sokh, an Uzbek enclave within Kyrgyzstan.

"My son traveled to the city to sell his car. He was arrested during that trip," she told RFE/RL.

Mallaeva said she had been unable to visit her so,n as the roads connecting the Sokh enclave to Uzbekistan are currently blocked.

A copy of court documents obtained by RFE/RL shows that Mallaev has been charged with taking part in mass unrest and assaulting a government official.

The name of the official is not mentioned in the document. But videos shared on social media appeared to show an angry crowd in Sokh throwing stones at Shuhrat Ghaniev, the Ferghana regional governor.

Sokh was the scene of clashes between local residents and Kyrgyz villagers on May 31 over a dispute about the ownership of a spring located in the area.

Villagers started throwing stones at each other before several houses on each side were set on fire.

The Sokh district administration said then that 187 local residents were injured in the clashes. Kyrgyzstan has said 25 of its citizens were injured in the violence.

Ghaniev had pledged no one would be punished over the incident in which he was pelted with stones in Sokh. The crowd accused him of being unable to resolve the enclave's long-standing problems, such as water supplies and blocked roads.

Many border areas in Central Asia have been restive since the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991.

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

Sokh, one such exclave, is an ethnic Tajik-populated Uzbek territory within Kyrgyzstan's Batken region, where clashes have been common for years.

Tensions have also been very high in recent weeks in the area close to a Tajik exclave called Vorukh in the Batken region and nearby disputed segments of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in recent weeks as well.

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