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Clash erupts between Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards

Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards exchanged fire after a fresh dispute regarding the border between the two Central Asian nations, officials on both sides said.

The clash started after Kyrgyz border guards accused the Tajiks of taking positions at a part of the border that has not been demarcated. The exchange of fire took place on the eve of a regional security body meeting and against the background of fighting between Russia and Ukraine as well as Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The Tajik side said in a statement Kyrgyz border guards opened unprovoked gun and mortar fire on their outpost. One Tajikistan border guard was killed and two wounded in overnight clashes, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing the
Tajikistan border force.

Kyrgyz and Tajik leaders are expected to attend a summit of the Shanghai Security Organisation in Uzbekistan this week alongside Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping as well as a host of other world leaders.

Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are allied with Russia and host Russian military bases, but fighting over border issues is frequent and last year almost resulted in an all-out war between the former Soviet republics.

The clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajik add to tensions in the region after at least 49 Armenian and 50 Azeri militaries were killed in the fighting between the two nations. Each side blames the other for the renewed clashes which increase the risk of the decades-old conflict flaring up anew.

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