Tajik, Kyrgyz law enforcement authorities take measures to settle border incident

05/08/2015 10:32
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, August 5, 2015, Asia-Plus – The Kyrgyz government’s official website reports that Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariyev has interrupted his short-term vacation in connection with cross-border violence between villages in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

By Sariyev’s order an interagency working group has been set up to investigate the incident.

Currently, representatives of local authorities, law enforcement agencies and border services of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are carrying out explanatory work among the local population for the purpose of settling the conflict situation, the website says.

According to sources in Tajikistan’s Isfara district, the incident along the border started on August 3 when residents of the Kyrgyz village of Kok-Tash blocked the flow of water to the Tajik village of Chorkuh, which caused protests by Tajiks.  In response to this, residents of the Tajik village of Chorkuh blocked a road that Kyrgyz residents of Kok-Tash use to reach a cemetery where relatives are buried.

Some 200 people then gathered on both sides of the border on August 3 and threw stones at each other.

An official at the Isfara mayor’s office says the crowd increased to about 500 people on August 4 and residents again threw stones, injuring several people on both sides.

Some sources in Isfara say Kyrgyz border guards on August 4 opened fire at Tajik nationals.  Two Tajik nationals were reportedly wounded and several houses in the Tajik village of Somoniyon were set on fire by Kyrgyz nationals.

 Kyrgyz authorities, however, say that Kyrgyz border guards did not open fire at Tajik nationals.  According to a statement posted on Kyrgyz border service’s website, Kyrgyz border guards did not use weapons in the clash between Kyrgyz and Tajik nationals along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.  The statement that was posted on Kyrgyz border service’s website on Tuesday at 2:45 notes that the situation in the Mayskaya area, Batken district near the Kyrgyz-Tajik border remains complex.

The statement, in particular, says that residents of the Kyrgyz village of Kok-Tash and the Tajik village of Chorkuh gathered in the Mayskaya area near the border on Tuesday at around 1:00 pm and began throwing stones at each other.  As a result, three Kyrgyz citizens have sustained various injuries.

Radio Liberty’ Kyrgyz Service reported on August 4 that four Kyrgyz citizens have been hospitalized after another violent incident along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.  Zalkar Bekmuratov, the deputy chief physician at the Batken Clinic in southern Kyrgyzstan, told RFE/RL that two of the patients suffered concussions and the other two have minor injuries.

Meanwhile RFE/RL’s Tajik Service quoted officials in Tajikistan's Isfara district as saying that six Tajik citizens were wounded by gunfire that rang out later on August 4.  Two of the wounded Tajiks are in grave condition, the officials said.

The deputy chief of Chorkuh, Abdukhalil Sharifov, reportedly said the shooting came from the Kyrgyz side of the border and broke out when Tajiks resumed work on building a water pipe crossing a disputed area.

He said 10 people from both sides were injured in the initial outbreak of violence on August 3.

Local authorities and elders from both sides were discussing the situation and urging calm.

Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards said they are monitoring the situation and are ready for joint efforts to prevent an escalation of violence.

Conflicts over water and land are still present between Kyrgyz and Tajiks in southern Kyrgyzstan.  Border incidents, most of which concern sections which have not been delimited, are leading to clashes between them.

Tajikistan’s common border with Kyrgyzstan is 978 kilometers in length and only 530 kilometers of it have been delimited so far.  The disputed 448 kilometers of the border run through densely populated areas of Tajikistan’s Sughd province

We will recall that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have been locked in a tense border dispute over Vorukh, an exclave of Tajikistan within Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan has suggested using the maps of the periods of 1955-1959 for demarcation and delimitation of the disputable stretches of the border while Tajikistan has suggested working with documents and maps of the period of 1924-1927.  The maps of the early 1920s show the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic as incorporating Vorukh within its borders while the maps of the 1950s show Vorukh as an exclave within the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic.

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