BISHKEK, Feb. 26 (NCA) -- Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Askar Aitmatov today called in Uzbekistan's ambassador to Kyrgyzstan for the second time in as many weeks. This time Aitmatov called Uzbek Ambassador Alisher Salahitdinov to protest the death of a Kyrgyz citizen who stepped on a landmine placed along the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border by Uzbek troops in 2000. The latest incident had taken place in the Kungeioetoek border area near the Chongkara village of the Batken region on Sunday, February 23. A resident of the Chongkara village Satarbek Shamshiev, 42, died. The place is about 200 meters from the border with Uzbekistan. Batken regional law-enforcement bodies say that the incident occurred in a disputed area between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, but the cause apparently was a mine that had been unilaterally placed there by Uzbek authorities. There have been about 11 explosions of Uzbek mines since 1999, which injured 3 residents and killed one resident of Batken.
Last week Aitmatov called Salahitdinov to complain about two Uzbek border guards who crossed into Kyrgyz territory and harassed local residents, firing warning shots before returning to the Uzbek side of the border. The current borders in the Fergana Valley, shared by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, were drawn arbitrarily in the 1920s and 1930s, during Soviet times. They remain poorly marked.