Wed, 16 Oct 2019

A shoot-out on a disputed section of the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the Ferghana Valley has left at least one border guard dead and 19 other people wounded, officials from both countries say.

Both sides blamed each other for starting the September 16 shooting in Kyrgyzstan's Leylek district and the Bobojon Ghafurov district of Tajikistan.

The Tajik and Kyrgyz border agencies said the shooting, which they said followed a dispute over construction at a non-demarcated section of the border, stopped at 9:30 p.m. local time and that officials were trying to prevent further escalation.

Many border areas in Central Asia 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.

Kyrgyzstan's State Border Service said that the latest shooting left one of its border guards dead.

The Kyrgyz Health Ministry said another guard was seriously wounded, while six local residents sustained various injuries.

Local Tajik officials told RFE/RL that 12 citizens of Tajikistan had been hospitalized.

The incident comes amid simmering tensions between Kyrgyz and Tajik communities living near the contested border.

On July 22, clashes on another section of the border left at least one dead and several more wounded. About 150 women and children were later evacuated from a Kyrgyz village.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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