Kyrgyzstan said Thursday it had agreed a ceasefire with Tajikistan after cross-border shelling and clashes left at least four people dead and dozens injured in a conflict over a water supply facility.
“As a result of several negotiations between the ministers of foreign affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan, agreements were reached on a complete ceasefire from 8:00 pm (1400 GMT) and the withdrawal of military forces,” Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Earlier during the day, troops from the two ex-Soviet Central Asian neighbors exchanged gunfire around a water supply facility near the village of Kok-Tash in Kyrgyzstan’s western Batken region on the border with Tajikistan.
Locals on both sides threw rocks at each other before clashes escalated and the sides began exchanging gunfire earlier Thursday, according to the security agencies of both Central Asian republics.
Kyrgyzstan’s Health Ministry said one person died and 45 others were injured in the clashes, TASS reported.
In Tajikistan, the mayor’s office in the city of Isfara said three Tajiks were killed and 31 were injured, including the mayor who received a gunshot wound, according to RIA-Novosti.
Kyrgyz authorities said the conflict erupted Wednesday, when Tajik officials attempted to install surveillance equipment to monitor the water supply facility and the Kyrgyz side opposed the move. Tajik authorities accused Kyrgyz forces of shooting at Tajik border guards.
Both nations have claimed the area around the water supply facility, a dispute dating back decades when they were part of the Soviet Union.
Earlier in April, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said during a visit to Tajikistan’s Vorukh exclave within Kyrgyzstan that agreements on almost half of the Tajik-Kyrgyz border had been reached during more than 100 rounds of negotiations between Dushanbe and Bishkek since work on border delimitation started in 2002.
With reporting by TASS, Akipress, RIA-Novosti