Kyrgyz border guards accuse Tajik troops of breaking a ceasefire following clashes over a water dispute.
Kyrgyzstan has accused its neighbor Tajikistan of having assembled troops and military equipment near its border, following the clashes near the de facto Tajik enclave of Vorukh which killed at least 41 people and injured dozens.
The Kyrgyz border guard also said on Saturday that Tajik troops opened fire on Kyrgyz vehicles near a Kyrgyz village.
Tajikistan made no comment, although a Tajik security source said Dushanbe was sticking to a ceasefire and troop withdrawal agreement.
At the same time, talks continued to settle the conflict between the two Central Asian countries, both allies of Russia.
The presidents of the two countries spoke by phone on Saturday to discuss next steps, their offices said.
“In violation of bilateral agreements on the withdrawal of troops to their bases, the other side continues to bring more troops and heavy equipment to its border with Kyrgyzstan,” the Kyrgyz border guard said in a statement.
A Kyrgyz area populated by thousands remained cut off from the rest of the country, border guards said, as Tajik troops blocked a road through disputed territory.
Clashes erupted this week along the border between Tajikistan’s Sughd province and southern Kyrgyzstan’s Batken province over a dispute over a reservoir and pump, claimed by both sides, on the Isfara River. .
Villagers from opposing camps threw stones at each other and border guards joined the fray with guns, mortars and even, according to Kyrgyz border guards, a Tajik attack helicopter.
At least one Kyrgyz border outpost and several houses on the Kyrgyz side were set on fire, while Tajikistan reported bombing damage to a bridge.
The Kyrgyz authorities reported 33 people killed, all civilians except three, and 132 injured.
Local government sources in Tajikistan said eight people were killed on his side, including four border guards.
On Saturday, the AFP news agency said its correspondent in Batken was unable to reach the conflict zone because Kyrgyz men holding stones turned around on a road bordered by Kyrgyz soldiers between the village of Min -Bulak and the city of Isfana.
Also on Saturday, several hundred people gathered in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, outside government offices and demanded that the government hand over weapons to them to fight at the border.
A statement issued by the National Security Council through the office of Kyrgyzstan chief Sadyr Japarov said the protesters’ demands were impossible to meet “because they are fraught with consequences.”
Border disagreements between the three countries that share the fertile Fergana Valley – Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – stem from demarcations made during the Soviet era.
Borders that knot and twist have left many communities with restricted access to their country of origin.
Neighboring Uzbekistan and Russia, which have bases in both countries, have offered to mediate the latest conflict.