Fight for water supplies – More than 40 dead | Free press


Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are in a bloody conflict with dozens dead and injured. The reason: access to water resources. Russia wants to mediate in the dispute.

Bishkek / Dushanbe (dpa) – At least 41 people died and more than 200 injured in a bloody border dispute over access to water resources in Central Asia.

The situation in the border area between the two former Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is still tense, the authorities of both countries said. Kyrgyzstan accused Tajik forces of using grenade launchers. The EU expressed concern about the violence.

The Kyrgyz Ministry of Health in Bishkek said consistent reports that 31 people have been killed and 154 injured in the fighting. On the Tajik side, there were 10 dead and about 90 injured, the Internet portal Asia-Plus reports. There was initially no confirmation of the numbers in the authoritarian country.

The conflict escalated mid-week when Tajik officials attempted to install a video camera near a water distribution station. Kyrgyz citizens oppose. They initially threw stones, the media reported. Then both sides reinforced their border troops, which then shot each other.

The water distribution point is located in a Kyrgyz-controlled area near a canal outlet that fills a reservoir in the Batken region. For the people there, this is the main point of access to drinking water. Tajikistan claims the area using older maps.

The governments of both countries on the border with China blamed each other for the escalation. But they also announced that they wanted to settle the dispute. On the Kyrgyzstan side alone, a total of 20,000 civilians have been brought to safety. Several houses and shops had been burned down.

Russia called on the warring parties to exercise restraint. At the same time, Moscow offered to mediate in the dispute. The EU also called for a sustainable, peaceful solution while offering assistance. Brussels also welcomed the agreed ceasefire. According to information from Tajikistan, the situation today was initially mostly calm.

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