Emomali Rakhmon and Sooronbay Jeenbekov to visit conflict zone on Tajik-Kyrgyz border
There was another incident at Tajik-Kyrgyz border. This time the cause of the conflict between residents of the Tajik enclave of Vorukh and the Kyrgyz village of Ak-Sai was installation of the Tajik flag. Verbal argument ended with shooting. As a result, one person was killed and over 25 people were injured. That was residents' unusual way of preparation for the arrival of presidents of the two countries, Emomali Rakhmon and Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who will discuss issues of demarcation and delimitation of the border during the negotiations.
Meeting between Presidents Emomali Rakhmon and Sooronbai Jeenbekov will be held on the territory of Tajikistan (Isfara) on July 26. Following the talks, heads of two states are expected to sign a package of documents on demarcation and delimitation of the disputed parts of the border. In addition, head of Tajikistan will visit the Vorukh enclave, where conflicts between Tajiks and Kyrgyz occur constantly. Previous incident happened due to construction of the road in March.
Yesterday, after the incident, situation in the enclave remained tense. Shots were heard in the morning. However, no injuries were reported. The Isfara-Vorukh highway remains closed, Tajik expert Negmatullo Mirsaidov told Vestnik Kavkazka.
Right before that, situation in Vorukh looked pretty dim. Conflict was caused by installation of the Tajik flag. According to Mirsaidov, residents of the village of Ak-Sai, a Kyrgyz village, opposed installation of the flag, due to that verbal argument between villagers-neighbors began. Then they began to throw stones at each other, and all of this ended with shooting from hunting rifles. According to expert, Kyrgyz shot first. Tajiks had no weapons. As a result, one Tajik was killed and another 16 were wounded. 15 people from the Kyrgyz side were injured by stones.
Nevertheless, evacuation of the population of the Ak-Sai village began right after that. 315 people, mostly women and children, were transported to a safe place. 260 people were placed in temporary camps, another 55 people were divided. The Red Crescent Committee provided tents, water, food, and humanitarian aid to victims.
Situation in the conflict area will be monitored by representatives of the internal affairs agencies of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. This decision was made at a meeting with participation of the Deputy Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Jenish Razakov, Minister of Internal Affairs and chairman of the Border Service of Kyrgyzstan with representatives of the Tajik side. It took place on Tuesday in Batken (regional center of the Batken region, south of Kyrgyzstan).
Andrei Zakhvatov, expert on Tajikistan, believes that recently there has been hope for peaceful settlement of border issues. "High hopes were placed on announced arrival of presidents Emomali Rakhmon and Sooronbay Jeenbekov to border region. The higher the status of engaging parties, the higher the hopes are for successful resolution of the conflict. A number of experts reached this conclusion, and I agree with that," Zakhvatov told Vestnik Kavkaza.
According to him, after new, more acute outbreak of violence, when one person was killed in clashes and dozens were injured, when emotions reach the breaking point and local residents don't want to listen and hear each other, not a lot of improvements can be achieved at the meeting of two presidents in the coming days. "As we've seen before, when it comes to achieving the truce, like in Tajikistan during the civil war of the 1990s, areas of fierce confrontation, where situation developed from bad to worse, joint peacekeeping forces of the CIS were always introduced, and then those in power joined negotiations. Conflict in Vorukh has already reached its peak. In my opinion, border guards and authorities of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan should invite military police from the CIS countries to Vorukh - attitude of the population of both parties to outside armed police would be better than to their own," expert noted.
As for the upcoming meeting between presidents of two countries, according to the Tajik side, right now there are no talks about postponement or cancellation of the meeting. Presidents will look at current situation on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border.