Fighting erupts near Kyrgyz, Uzbek border

July 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, July 18 (UPI) -- Casualties were reported when gunfire erupted near the ill-defined border separating Uzbekistan from Kyrgyzstan, border guards stated.

Kyrgyz border guard officials said skirmishes erupted over road construction in an undemarcated border area.

"A border guard of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan died in the shooting," a statement from the former Soviet republic was quoted by Russia's RIA Novosti news agency as reading.

"According to preliminary information, two residents of the republic received gunshot wounds, casualties among Uzbek border guards were also reported."

Both sides resolved to settle the issue shortly after the gunfire stopped, the report added.

An April 2010 coup led former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee to Belarus. Following the coup, at least 470 people were killed in ethnic conflicts near Osh and Jalal Abad.

Human rights groups noted Bishkek has a long road ahead in healing rifts between ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities.

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