Police, Residents Clash In Kyrgyzstan Following Deadly Incident On Tajik Border

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BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- Police in Kyrgyzstan's southern Batken region on the border with Tajikistan say three officers have been injured in clashes with local residents as officials meet to ease tensions after a deadly incident in the area between Kyrgyz and Tajik nationals.

Police officials said the clashes erupted on July 24 after police tried to stop local residents' efforts to block a road connecting the Kyrgyz village of Ak-Sai with the Tajik exclave of Vorukh.

Residents used sticks and stones to attack police, who used sound grenades to disperse the crowd.

"The situation is stabilized now. Local authorities are holding talks with the residents," a Kyrgyz police statement said.

On July 22, Tajik officials said one Tajik man was killed and seven more wounded after Kyrgyz villagers used guns in the violence that erupted over a move by Tajik residents to install Tajik national flags on the Isfara-Vorukh road, which angered Kyrgyz villagers.

With villagers on both sides hanging national flags ahead of visits by the presidents of the two countries to the region, tensions have been mounting.

Officials in the Batken region said on July 24 that more than 650 residents of Ak-Sai had been moved from the area for safety and security reasons.

Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Jenish Razakov and his Tajik counterpart, Azim Ibrohim, resumed talks on July 24 on solving issues along the border.

The talks are being held in Batken's Dacha district.

On July 23, Razakov and Ibrohim agreed to a joint investigation of the deadly incident on the previous day.

Many border areas in Central Asia's former Soviet republics have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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

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