Fences Being Installed Around Troubled Uzbek Exclave

BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz officials have started installing barbed-wire fences around Uzbekistan's Sokh district.

Batken Province official Abdinazar Ergeshov told RFE/RL that workers are now building 10 kilometers of fencing along the 136-kilometer Sokh border.

The fences are being installed close to the Kyrgyz village of Charbak. That is where Sokh residents, who are mainly ethnic Tajiks, disrupted an attempt to connect electric power lines to a new Kyrgyz border post on January 5-6, sparking clashes with Kyrgyz authorities.

Five Sokh residents were reportedly wounded by Kyrgyz border guards.

At least 30 Kyrgyz citizens were taken hostage but all were released the following day.

All border crossings through Sokh have remained closed since the violence.

Uzbekistan's Sokh exclave is fully surrounded by Kyrgyzstan's southern Batken Province.