In First Official Count, Tajikistan Says 19 Killed In Kyrgyz Border Clashes

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DUSHANBE -- Tajik authorities say 19 people were killed and 87 injured in clashes along a disputed segment of the border with Kyrgyzstan last week, in their first official data on the violence.

The official statement by the authorities of the northern Sughd region on May 6 said that all of the victims were from villages close to the border. It did not provide any more details.

RFE/RL correspondents from the area have reported that 20 people, including 11 military personnel, were killed during the violence.

Tajikistan's official statement comes after the deadly violence erupted on April 28 and lasted for almost three days after the Tajiks tried to install security cameras on disputed territory near the border of the two Central Asian states.

Kyrgyz authorities have said that 36 Kyrgyz citizens died in the skirmishes, while 189 people were injured and 58,000 were evacuated.

Like many other border areas in Central Asia, almost half of the 970-kilometer-long Kyrgyz-Tajik border has not been demarcated, leading to tensions over the past 30 years. The latest fighting was the heaviest in years and raised fears of a wider conflict between the two impoverished neighbors.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov on May 6 visited villages in the southwestern Batken Province that were heavily affected by the clashes.

In the wake of the violence, Japarov discussed the situation with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, who invited the Kyrgyz leader to the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, to discuss border issues.

After the phone call, it was officially announced that Japarov will visit Tajikistan in late May.

However, during a meeting with residents of the village of Margun, Japarov said he will not visit Tajikistan "until Kyrgyz-Tajik border issues are resolved."

Source: Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.