Kyrgyz-Tajik Border Clashes Leave Four Hospitalized

  • Deputy Prime Minister Akram Madumarov has left for Batken, on the Tajik border, the government said.
  • The Tajik side said the conflict was started by Kyrgyz residents who tried to seize 60 hectares of cornfields.
  • Over the past five years, relations on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border have been severely tested.

Clashes on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border Friday left four people hospitalized, and one Kyrgyz serviceman in critical condition. Two other soldiers were reported to be in good condition, while a civilian was sent home after receiving first aid. The serviceman, born in 1994, was shot in the chest and abdomen.

Batken Region is a region (oblast) of Kyrgyzstan. It is bounded on the east by Osh Region, on the south, west and north by Tajikistan, and on the northeast by Uzbekistan.

He underwent surgery and he is in critical condition. A serviceman born in 1995 also was shot in the chest. “The operation was performed, the condition is moderate, stable,” said the Ministry of Health in a statement. The third solder, born in 1996, was shot in the chest. “The wound was cleaned surgically, the condition is moderate, stable,” the Ministry added.

Deputy Prime Minister Akram Madumarov has left for Batken, on the Tajik border, the government said. “The Deputy Prime Minister will visit the hospital where the injured servicemen are being treated. He will also hold an emergency meeting with law enforcement and local authorities on the incident with the use of firearms on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border,” the statement said.

The Tajik side says that two residents of the village of Kummazar, in Chorkuh, are in critical condition. Ikbol Teshaev, a spokesman for the Isfara city administration, told reporters that the conflict was started by Kyrgyz residents who tried to seize 60 hectares of cornfields.

“Residents of Kummazar were outraged and protested against the citizens of Kyrgyzstan,” said Teshaev. According to him, during the conflict, Kyrgyz border guards opened fire on Tajik citizens. In response, Tajik border guards became involved in the conflict.

Kyrgyzstan’s border guards say Kyrgyz and Tajik citizens have clashed over 50 hectares of land in the Batken region’s Chek district. Although the disputed area is located in an unspecified area, it was used by the Kyrgyz side, according to the official statement. The Tajik side has not provided information on this.

Per a statement from the Kyrgyz State Border Service:

“30-40 people from both sides gathered, threw stones at each other, and fired at each other. Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards fired warning shots into the air to prevent the situation from escalating. For some time, the situation has calmed down and investigation work is being carried out in border settlements. However, Tajik border guards suddenly fired mortars at Kyrgyz border guards.”

The Kyrgyzstan–Tajikistan border is 984km (611m) and runs from the tripoint with Uzbekistan to the tripoint with China. There are two enclaves along the border (Vorukh and Kayragach), both Tajik enclaves within Kyrgyzstan.

Over the past five years, relations on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border have been severely tested. This time, the two sides are blaming each other. After the conflict, officials are resuming talks.

In 2019, 16 conflicts of various kinds were registered on the state border. There have been several border clashes, which have resulted in deaths and injuries. Despite the fact that the parties held meetings on each conflict and promised to prevent the border conflict, the conflict did not end.

Salamat Alamanov, a former chairman of the government’s border demarcation commission, said in an earlier interview that the two sides were at loggerheads.

“I think the talks have gone in a different direction. It’s not diplomatic, it’s a challenge. In previous years, they went public and said, ‘We’re not going to give the Tajiks another meter of land.’ This is against the rules of negotiations because the word ‘yes or no’ should be used after the demarcation of the border. If there is an unspecified area, it is impossible to say that both sides will not give it, even if it is our land.”

In December 2019, two people were shot, and after the conflict, Kyrgyz and Tajik officials agreed that only the relevant authorities should act, not involve local residents in the border issue. But again, a border dispute broke out between local residents.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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