Kyrgyz, Tajik Nationals Briefly Detained Along Disputed Border Segment

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BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- Several Kyrgyz and Tajik nationals were briefly detained along a disputed segment of the border between the two Central Asian states as tensions in the area continue to simmer.

Authorities in Kyrgyzstan's southern region of Batken said that residents in the Kyrgyz village of Ak-Sai on May 17 stopped three Tajik nationals and turned them over to local police to investigate whether they were legally in the country.

Meanwhile, authorities said that three Kyrgyz citizens were detained on the territory of Tajikistan's Vorukh exclave within Kyrgyz territory the same day.

However, Zubaidullo Shomadov, a spokesman for the government of the nearby Tajik city of Isfara, told RFE/RL that two, not three Kyrgyz were detained.

According to the Batken regional officials, several hours later all of the detained individuals were released on both sides of the border. Shomadov also confirmed that all of the detained individuals had been released after talks between officials.

The deputy chief physician of the Batken regional hospital, Ulukbek Aijigitov, told RFE/RL that the three Kyrgyz nationals released from Tajik custody had been beaten in custody, were diagnosed with injuries such as concussions and sustained multiple bruises.

The incident took place about three weeks after deadly clashes in areas between Kyrgyz and Tajik military left scores of casualties on both sides.

The conflict broke out on April 28 and lasted for almost three days after the Tajiks tried to install security cameras on disputed territory.

Many border areas in Central Asia have been restive since the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991.

The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the volatile Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan meet.

In recent decades, there have been many incidents along the border, which in some cases involved gunfire.

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.