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Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border clashes claim nearly 100 lives

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By Alys Davies

BBC News

Volunteers collect aidImage source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Volunteers collect aid for evacuees in Kyrgyzstan

At least 94 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in clashes on the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border – the deadliest in years.

Fighting between the two Central Asian states broke out on Wednesday, before a ceasefire was agreed on Friday.

Violence regularly erupts between the two former Soviet republics, whose border has been contested since the collapse of the USSR.

Both sides blame each other for the outbreak of violence.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan share a 1,000-km (600-mile) border, a third of which is disputed.

Clashes on the border led to unprecedented fighting between the two countries in 2021, when almost 50 people were killed. But the violence in recent days has led to a death toll almost twice as high.

Late on Sunday, Kyrgyzstan reported an additional 13 deaths, taking its total death toll to 59. It added that more than 100 people had been injured.

Tajikistan said 35 of its citizens had been killed, and at least 20 had been injured.

Kyrgyzstan said some 137,000 people had been evacuated from the conflict area. Kyrgyz media said on Sunday that some people had already started returning to their homes.

Tajikistan has not reported any mass evacuations.

Amid international pressure, the two sides signed a ceasefire on Friday. It has largely been upheld despite claims of some shelling since by both sides.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin called for a de-escalation of tensions in phone calls with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov on Sunday, according to the Kremlin.

Mr Putin urged the two leaders to resolve the situation “exclusively by peaceful, political and diplomatic means as soon as possible,” a Kremlin statement said.

Kyrgyzstan has declared Monday a day of national mourning for those killed in the clashes.

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