3 dead in Kyrgyzstan after the Uzbek border forces shooting

Kyrgyzstan announced Friday that three of its citizens were killed on Thursday after Uzbek soldiers opened fire on part of the disputed border between the two Central Asian countries.

Border disputes have occurred frequently between the two former Soviet republics since their independence three decades ago. Officials refer to various Soviet-era maps in their statements.

The National Security Committee said in a statement that “they died from their injuries sustained in the shooting,” adding that the incident occurred on Thursday.

This is the most serious incident that has occurred in recent years on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

The statement said that representatives of the border services of the two countries immediately contacted and agreed to conduct an investigation. A meeting is expected between them on Friday, according to the statement.

Kyrgyzstan did not specify whether the dead were civilians or border forces.

Smuggling is a problem inarea and there are frequent fights between border residents over cattle grazing and water resources.

Border authorities could not be contacted for comment.

Bilateral relations between the two neighbors have often been strained, but have improved since the death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov in 2016.

His successor Shavkat Mirziyoyev tried to mend relations with neighbors.

Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement last year to resolve the border dispute, but it was not ratified after Kyrgyzstan expressed its dissatisfaction with provisions ensuring the use of the Uzbek side of a reservoir. located in Kyrgyzstan.

The most serious conflict in Central Asia is currently on Kyrgyzstan’s border with Tajikistan, where dozens of people have been killed following unprecedented clashes involving army units last year.