Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan: Images of destruction after border clashes

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https://www.bbc.com-image caption Some 78 homes in the region were reportedly destroyed by fire

The death toll from recent clashes at a disputed Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border has risen to 46, with hundreds of people injured and dozens of homes destroyed, officials say.

Of those killed, 34 were reported from the Kyrgyz side, the Kyrgyz emergencies ministry said on Sunday, and 12 from the Tajik side.

More than 100 properties – including schools, shops, border checkpoints and a police station – were burned down or vandalised in some of the worst fighting the region has seen in years, the ministry added.

Images captured by the BBC show the extent of the destruction in villages in Kyrgyzstan, with homes blackened by fire, roofs collapsed and some buildings reduced to rubble.

As many as 10,000 people were evacuated after violence erupted in a disputed area around the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday.

People from both the Kyrgyz and Tajik sides hurled stones at each other after surveillance cameras were installed at a water facility.

A resident of Maskat village on the border with Tajikistan, Rakhat Esenova, said she had lost her home in the violence.

“We lived with hope in this house… I lived with the hope that [our] children and grandchildren would grow up here,” she said, adding: “Why did they do this to us?”

The Kyrgyz interior ministry said it had opened a criminal investigation in connection with the violence, and that it would look into allegations of murder and illegal border crossings.

While a ceasefire agreement came into force on Friday, there were reports that violence had continued in several villages.

The two sides reached another ceasefire agreement on Saturday evening, which appeared to be holding on Sunday.

The fighting has focused on water facilities in territory claimed by both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Like many parts of Central Asia, the border between the two countries has been a focus of tension for the past 30 years.

Restrictions on access to land and water that communities regard as theirs have often led to deadly clashes in the past.

 

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