Tajik and Kyrgyz border guards exchanged fire along the disputed segment of the two nations’ mutual border on July 8, wounding two.

A statement released by the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan (SCNS) 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.  

Kyrgyzstan’s border guard service confirmed the exchange of fire, but gave a different account.

Citing Kyrgyzstan’s border guard service, AKIPress says Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards exchanged fire on July 8, at around 5:00 pm. 

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

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.