At least 49 die in clashes along Kyrgyz-Tajik border
By Nazir Aliyev Tayfur
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA): At least 49 people were killed in clashes along a disputed section of the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border, authorities said Saturday.
The number of Kyrgyz citizens who died in the armed conflict in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region rose to 34 with 173 injured, said the Kyrgyz Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, the number of Tajiks who lost their lives in the conflict reached 15, including seven soldiers, according to media reports.
Tajik media previously reported that nearly 90 Tajiks were injured in the conflict.
The violence that started on Wednesday between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan was centered on control over the local water distribution network, Kyrgyz media reported on Thursday.
Surveillance equipment was installed by Tajik officials at the Golovnoi water distribution center, which Kyrgyzstan says is located in an area where sovereignty is yet to be defined, according to the Radio Free Europe news website.
According to Human Rights Watch, the fighting has affected at least a dozen villages in the Kyrgyz districts of Batken and Leilek, which both border Tajikistan, with the former surrounding the Tajik exclave of Vorukh.
HRW add that media reports indicate that all 17 houses in Kok-Terek village in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken district were burned and that other dwellings were set on fire or destroyed in several villages in the Leilek district. Kyrgyz authorities said a school had been burned and that six are now being used as temporary shelters for internally displaced people. A Tajik media outlet reported that some civilians were evacuated from at least one village.
Clashes broke out with the intervention of border troops from the two countries, and soldiers were sent to the region with armored vehicles from both sides.
Tensions on control of the water supply continued on Thursday, however, with residents throwing stones at each other.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan in Istanbul.
Additional report by The Muslim News
[Map of Central Asia by Lencer/Creative Commons]
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