Kyrgyzstan Says Three Killed In Uzbek Border Shooting

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Three people were fatally shot when Uzbek border guards opened fire along the two countries' shared border, Kyrgyz authorities said.

Kyrgyzstan's border guard service said on May 6 that the incident took place a day earlier in the western Jalal-Abad region, near Ferghana Valley. The service said in a statement that the three individuals died after being brought to a nearby hospital.

Uzbekistan’s border security service said on its Telegram channel that three people were shot in a border incident when they allegedly were involved in a smuggling operation.

“Uzbek border guards observed the smuggling of large quantities of goods from the republic of Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan and took measures to prevent this violation,” it said.

It added that a “group of violators resisted the military, using force, inflicting bodily injuries, and attempting to seize weapons.”

The Uzbek statement said security personnel “were forced to use weapons,” with three people being injured and “taken to Kyrgyzstan by their accomplices.”

Kyrgyz authorities identified the dead as a 48-year-old father and his 24- and 22-year-old sons.

Local Kyrgyz and Uzbek leaders reportedly met to discuss the incident, and more meetings were planned for May 6.

Clashes and shootings occur regularly along the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border, often sparked by disputes over access to water or transport routes or historical grievances over arbitrarily drawn borders.

Border disputes also occur regularly along the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Last year, at least two dozen people were killed and more than 150 wounded in a major outbreak of violence involving ethnic Tajiks and ethnic Kyrgyz.

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.