Kyrgyz Officials Say Situation Under Control After Minor Clashes Along Uzbek Border

By RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- There have been minor skirmishes along Kyrgyzstan's southern border with Uzbekistan's Sokh exclave but officials say the situation was quickly brought under control.

Officials in Kyrgyzstan's southern region of Batken said on May 14 that residents of the Kyrgyz village of Sai and the Uzbek village of Chashma "brawled following a misunderstanding" the previous day which led to an escalation of tensions as many people on both sides gathered at the border.

According to the regional administration's press service, law enforcement officials of the two countries are at the site and working with local residents to investigate the clashes. No other details were given.

Uzbek officials have yet to comment on the situation.

In March, Uzbek and Kyrgyz officials publicly stated that "all border issues between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have been solved."

The clashes took place less than three weeks after deadly violence erupted near a disputed segment of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in the Batken region killed scores of Kyrgyz and Tajik nationals. The conflict broke out on April 28 and lasted for almost three days after the Tajiks tried to install security cameras at a disputed territory near the exclave.

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

In recent decades, there have been many incidents along the border which in some cases involved gunfire.

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