BISHKEK. The governor of Kyrgyzstan's southern Batken region told RFE/RL today that separatists in Tajikistan were responsible for a riot that broke out along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border yesterday.
Some 300 residents of Tajikistan's Vorukh enclave destroyed a newly established Kyrgyz border post on the border between Tajikistan's Soghd region and Kyrgyzstan's Batken region.
In response about 100 residents of the Kyrgyz village of Koekterek in the Ak-Sai village municipality entered Tajik territory and destroyed a border post and turned over some vehicles.
No injuries were reported and both countries reported their law enforcement officials had restored order in the area.
Batken Governor Mamat Aibalayev said officials in Batken region and in Tajikistan's Soghd region were in close contact over the developments. He said that some 'hot heads' in Tajikistan were responsible for the riot. "They (Kyrgyz) had to remove the (customs) posts. The Tajiks have been establishing the posts illegally. This is not their territory. This is a disputed area. We have an agreement. We have commitments not to establish any posts in this area and not to organize any economic activities there. The situation is severe. A few separatists in Tajikistan, but not the Tajik government, are trying to destabilize the situation," said Aibalaev. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan held several sessions of border talks in November and December 2002. Parts of their border remain disputed. Also there are the ethnic Tajiks in Kyrgyzstan and the ethnic Kyrgyz in Tajikistan.