Dushanbe and Bishkek agree to exchange detainees
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A meeting on this subject took place in Leilek district of Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region on February 22.
Omurbek Suvanaliyev, an authorized representative of Kyrgyz president in Batken region, told Radio Liberty’s Kyrgyz Service, known locally as Radio Azattyk, on February 23 that “this is not a question that can be resolved quickly.” “To resolve some issues at the border, it is necessary to use diplomacy,” Suvanaliyev said.
Radio Azattyk says Kyrgyzstan has 15 detained citizens of Tajikistan and Tajikistan has nine detained Kyrgyz nationals.
Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin told reporters in Dushanbe on February 15 that 14 detained Tajik nationals are being held in Kyrgyzstan.
“14 nationals of Tajikistan, residents of Khatlon’s Jaihun district, were detained in the Kyrgyz city of Kara-Kul on February 11. They are charged with illegally crossing the border,” Muhriddin said.
He also noted that Tajikistan had already hired a defense lawyer for a 45-year-old resident of the Tajik city of Isfara Furqat Abdufattoyev who had been detained in Russia in early February at the request of Kyrgyzstan.
Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security (UKMK) noted on February 22 that five citizens of Kyrgyzstan were detained in Tajikistan on February 16 for violation of the state border while trying to illegally get 900 kilograms of metals, two head of cattle and three head of small livestock from Tajikistan.
The Tajik side is conducting investigative measures against these citizens, says a statement released by UKMK.
A rally took place in Batken on February 22. Demonstrators demanded the release of Kyrgyz citizens detained in Tajikistan.
During a meeting with Omurbek Suvanaliyev, detainees’ relatives said that the detainees had been returning from the livestock market located in Tajik territory and they had been detained on the way home. There were no violations on their part, the relatives said.
It is to be noted that many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet.
The border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has been the scene of unrest repeatedly since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. The countries share 971 kilometers of border – of which only 504 kilometers has reportedly been properly delineated so far.
In 2019 alone, there were at least fourteen cases of violence, in which six Tajik nationals and one Kyrgyz citizen were killed and more than 60 other people were injured.
Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan renewed interest in border delimitation suggests that the governments want to dedicate more attention and resources to the communities living in the Ferghana Valley.