Death toll in Kyrgyz-Tajik border clashes rises to 36

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (Agencies): Kyrgyzstan’s death toll from the border clashes with Tajikistan rose to 36, with 129 others getting injured, its Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Another 12 bodies were brought to medical facilities in Batken region, which borders Tajikistan and where forces of the former Soviet republics clashed over a border dispute. The previous death toll stood at 24.

Meanwhile, Tajikistan has not given any official casualty numbers, but local press said at least 39 people had died.

Border clashes started on Wednesday, with the two sides later agreeing to a cease-fire. While there were accusations of breaching the deal from both sides, Kyrgyzstan declared a state of emergency in the Batken region late Friday.

Kyrgyzstan said nearly 136,000 residents were also evacuated from villages near Tajikistan.

In a statement on Saturday, the UN secretary-general’s spokesman called on the leadership of the two countries to engage in dialogue for a lasting cease-fire. “Both sides should take full advantage of the existing mechanisms on the ground to defuse tensions,” Stephane Dujarric said.