Tajik Soldier Wounded In Latest Violence Along Kyrgyz Border Dies

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DUSTI, Tajikistan -- A Tajik soldier wounded in the latest shootout at a disputed segment of the border with Kyrgyzstan has died at a hospital.

The governor of the Dusti district in Tajikistan's southern Khatlon region, Davron Nishonzoda, told RFE/RL on April 13 that 27-year-old Zoir Saidumarov died shortly after surgery overnight and has been buried in his native district.

Saidumarov was wounded a day earlier when two shootings occurred on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border. A Kyrgyz border guard and a Kyrgyz civilian were also wounded.

The governor of Kyrgyzstan's southern region of Batken, Abdikarim Alimbaev, said on April 13 that Kyrgyz-Tajik talks on the situation ended overnight with an agreement to withdraw additional armed forces from both sides.

"It was agreed that the two sides' police will take joint control over the border segment crossing the Konibodom-Khujand highway. Special explanatory works will be held among locals residing close to the border area to ensure they are aware of the situation," Alimbaev said.

The clashes took place just weeks after border guards from the two sides exchanged fire on March 10. No casualties were reported then.

In late January, clashes erupted along a segment of the two countries’ poorly demarcated border in a standoff over a blocked road.

Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security said at the time that two civilians were killed and 10 other people -- six security force members and four civilians – were wounded.

Kyrgyz authorities said 12 Kyrgyz nationals were seriously wounded and more than 24,200 Kyrgyz citizens were evacuated from the area because of the fighting in January.

Almost half of the 970-kilometer Kyrgyz-Tajik border has yet to be demarcated, leading to repeated tensions since the two countries gained independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union more than three decades ago.

Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed 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 Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan meet.

In April last year, clashes involving military personnel along the Tajik-Kyrgyz border left dozens of people dead on both sides.

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