Kyrgyzstan’s news agency, citing Kyrgyz border guard agency, says a 27-year-old Kyrgyz border guard Husniddin Khozhiyev was killed in a shootout that took place between Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards along the disputed segment of the two nations’ mutual border on July 8.

According to the preliminary information, there are also dead and wounded on the Tajik side, Kyrgyzstan’s border guard agency was quoted as saying.  

The chief of the Kyrgyz border guard agency and heads of the power-wielding structures of the country are at the scene of the incident, reported in the afternoon of July 9, noting that border representatives of the two countries are continuing investigation into the incident.  

Kyrgyzstan’s AKIPress news agency, citing Kyrgyzstan’s border guard service, said on July 9 that  Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards exchanged fire on July 8, at around 5:00 pm. 

A Kyrgyz border unit on a horseback patrol was reportedly attacked by Tajik border guards in the Naumin pass area in the Leilek district of the Batken region.

Meanwhile, Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security (SCNS) gave a different account.

A statement released by the SCNS on July 8 says four Kyrgyz border guards illegally crossed the border near the Devashtich (formerly Ghonchi) district in the Sughd province.     

They were dressed in military and civilian clothes, had Kalashnikov assault rifles, and intended to steal nine horses, according to the statement.

“Despite the warning of the Tajik border guards about violation of the state border line, Kyrgyz border guards opened fire on them.  Two Kyrgyz border guards were wounded by the return fire of Tajik border guards,” the CSNS statement says.  

Recall, the previous clash along Tajikistan’s common border with Kyrgyzstan was the bloodiest one in the region over the past 20 years.  A dispute over irrigation water triggered a clash between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan occurred on April 28-29.  The countries have agreed a complete ceasefire after the worst violence in decades along the Tajik-Kyrgyz border that killed 55 people and wounded more than 300 other people.

Almost half of the 970-kilometer-long Tajik-Kyrgyz border has not been demarcated, leading to repeated tensions since the two former Soviet republics gained independence three decades ago.