Tajiks Say Mortar Fire From Kyrgyz Military Wounded Villager One Week After Border Clashes

Residents of a Tajik village near a disputed segment of the Tajik-Kyrgyz border say a mortar fired by Kyrgyzstan's military has wounded a civilian, as tensions between the two Central Asian nations remain high following deadly clashes along the border earlier this month.

Residents of the village of Somoniyon near the Tajik city of Isfara said a son of a local teacher was wounded on September 26 by one of three mortar shells shot from the Kyrgyz side.

They said residents were cleaning debris from the clashes less than two weeks ago that lefts dozens of people on both sides dead.

Neither the Tajik nor the Kyrgyz government issued public statements on the purported incident, but a source in the Tajik Sughd region's government confirmed the shelling to RFE/RL.

A day earlier, Tajik and Kyrgyz officials reached agreements on suspending operations at eight checkpoints along the border, replacing them with mobile joint patrols that will be moving along the border on agreed routes.

Kyrgyz officials say 59 of its citizens died in the September 14-17 clashes, and 183 more were injured.

Tajikistan has put its death toll at 41, but correspondents of RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported a higher number after talking to relatives and friends of victims of the violence.

They concluded that 70 people, including dozens of civilians, lost their lives and have compiled a list of those killed.

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 Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan meet.

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