BISHKEK/DUSHANBE (Reuters) – One Kyrgyz serviceman has been killed and several people on both sides have been wounded in an overnight shootout on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, the authorities in Bishkek and Dushanbe said on Tuesday, blaming each other for the incident.
In similarly worded statements, the Kyrgyz and Tajik security services both said the clashes on Monday night were provoked by the other side starting illegal construction near the Tajik village of Ovchi-Kalacha on the border between Tajikistan’s northern Sughd province and Kyrgyzstan’s western Batken region.
The resulting shootout killed one Kyrgyz serviceman killed, Kyrgyzstan’s border service said. Kyrgyz authorities say 13 of their personnel were wounded; Tajik authorities said “several” on their side were hurt.
Senior officials from both countries, including Kyrgyz Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev, arrived at the site on Tuesday to settle the conflict, the Kyrgyz government said in a statement.
Former Soviet republics Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have struggled for three decades to agree borders in the Ferghana valley, which is home to several ethnic groups. Two people were killed in clashes at another point of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in March.
(Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko in Bishkek and Nazarali Pirnazarov in Dushanbe; Writing by by Olzhas Auyezov)