As tensions mount in an enclave straddling the borders of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan has sent a battalion of assault troops to the Kyrgyz border, the independent Kyrgyz online news agency AKIpress.org reported May 31, citing the Batken region administration. The Kaytpas border post at the border of Uzbekistan has been closed following several incidents this week in the cross-border area of Sokh. Batken authorities say that the failure of the Uzbek government to notify them of such troop reinforcements is a violation of international agreements, AKIpress.org reported.
Ten residents reported that their cars have been damaged in the last five days, and 30 private delivery drivers appealed to Sultanbai Ayzhigitov, acting governor of Batken region to take measures to stop the vandalism or close all the roads through the area, AKIpress.org reported.
The cross-border enclave of Sokh has been the site of a number of incidents in the past year.
On May 26 a Kyrgyz citizen was reportedly beaten by a group of people from the village of Khushyar in the Sokh district who were passing through Sokh to the village of Sogment in the Batken region. Authorities are investigating the incident.
With clashes between the Kyrgyz village of Sogment in Batken on one side of the border and the Uzbek village of Khushyar on the other, residents of Charbak, another Batken village of about 100 families located partly in Uzbekistan's territory, is without water service. Roads were closed after Khushyar villagers went on a rampage, destroying pipes and roads, AKIpress.org reported. The head of the Kyrgyz border unit and the akim (governor) of Batken district are in the area "taking security measures," AKIpress.org reported.
Last August, after Kyrgyz border guards detained two Sokh residents for alleged illegal border-crossing, a group of Uzbek citizens threw stones at a Kyrgyz border checkpoint, injuring two police officers, eurasianet.org reported.
On July 20, 2009, Uzbeks killed two Kyrgyz at the border checkpoint in Sokh, and Khushyar residents destroyed an irrigation dam in Charbak, Radio Ozodlik, the Uzbek Service of Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe reported. Kyrgyzstan has made plans to build a road to skirt the area due to the repeated incidents.
The border clashes followed a series of violent attacks in Khanabad and Andijan, Uzbekistan late last May.
Sokh's 35,000 residents are predominantly ethnic Tajiks. The majority of local government officials are ethnic Uzbeks.
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