Kyrgyzstan opens criminal investigation against Tajikistan citizens as ceasefire holds following clashes

The ceasefire between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan held on Sunday, as Kyrgyzstan accused citizens from its Central Asian neighbour of crimes during the pair’s worst clashes at their contested border in decades.

The ministry said casualties on its side had risen to more than 160, with 34 deaths.

Kyrgyzstan opened an 11 criminal cases against citizens of Tajikistan in connection with the violence, including investigations into murder and illegal border crossings.

Clashes occurred over land and water along the long-contested border are regular occurrences, with border guards often getting involved.

But the violence that erupted on Thursday was by far the most serious during the ex-Soviet pair’s 30 years of independence.

Tajikistan, a closed authoritarian state, is understood to have also suffered casualties and damages, but is yet to make them public.

On Thursday evening a ceasefire deal had been drawn up, but Kyrgyzstan acknowledged that both sides had continued shooting on Friday and Saturday before the national security chiefs met to reinforce the ceasefire on Saturday afternoon.

Since then “no incidents of shooting have been registered”, a spokesman for Kyrgyzstan’s national security committee told reporters, describing the border as “quiet, peaceful, calm”.

The two national security chiefs also agreed on a border protocol early on Sunday, Kyrgyzstan’s main government website reported, offering few details on the agreement.

According to local authorities in Kyrgyzstan about 58,000 people were evacuated from the area, mostly women and children.

Russia, which maintains military bases in the country, and neighbouring Uzbekistan said they were prepared to mediate in the conflict.