Deadly fighting on Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border kills 31...

Dhaka, Saturday   12 June 2021

Deadly fighting on Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border kills 31

 International Desk

 Published: 10:50 PM, 30 April 2021  

Deadly fighting on Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border kills 31

Deadly fighting on Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border kills 31

At least 31 people have been killed, scores injured and 10,000 evacuated after a water dispute led to some of the worst clashes in years on a disputed Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border.

Clashes started on Wednesday when people from both sides hurled stones at each other after surveillance cameras were installed at a water facility.

A truce and troop pull-back were agreed but some shooting appeared to continue.

The casualty figures were from the Kyrgyz side with Tajik numbers unclear.

Kyrgyzstan's health minister Aliza Soltonbekova said in a televised briefing that 31 people had been killed and more than 150 wounded since the violence began on Thursday.

According to the Kyrgyz figures on evacuations and casualties, a young girl was among the dead.

Pictures published on social media showed some buildings on fire in the region, in a disputed area around the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan. Among the burned properties were a border post, more than 20 homes, a school, eight shops and a casino, according to the Kyrgyz emergencies ministry.

The governor of Batken province in Kyrgyzstan said the two sides had agreed that the water surveillance equipment should be removed, but that Tajikistan then refused.

Reports said border guards became involved after the initial clashes intensified. Military units from both sides began exchanging fire on Thursday, but later that day a ceasefire was announced to take effect from 20:00 (14:00 GMT), with armed forces returning to their bases.

A representative of the police in Batken told the AFP news agency by telephone that shooting had continued during the night "but not intensively". Shooting occurred "between both military units and civilians", he said.

Poor demarcation of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has led to a number of clashes since the two countries became independent in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

On Friday, Tajikistan acknowledged the ceasefire in a statement published by its state information service. But the state has so far acknowledged no casualties or damages from the violence.