BISHKEK, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyzstan helicopters are delivering food and essential supplies to residents in three villages on the border with Uzbekistan which have been blockaded following a border incident earlier this month, the republic’s Emergencies Ministry said on Wednesday.
Several hundred residents in the villages in the republic's Batken region have been cut off from the rest of the republic since January 6, when all border crossing points were closed over a border incident.
The Batken region's head has introduced a state of emergency in the villages, while the Kyrgyzstan authorities have started building a road bypassing the enclave to provide communication lines between the villages and the rest of the republic.
Five Uzbek nationals - all of them from Khushyar in the ethnic-Uzbek enclave of Sokh in the Fergana Valley - were reportedly injured in the January 6 incident, in which they attacked a border guard post near Uzbekistan’s territory.
The villagers, angered by what Uzbekistan claims is the unauthorized construction of power transmission lines on its territory, attacked Kyrgyzstan’s Charbak border post and tried to seize firearms from the frontier guards. Several border guards were injured in the attack.
Kyrgyzstan media reports claim enclave residents including women and children were also taken hostage from nearby Kyrgyz villages. All were later released.
Both countries have launched investigations into the incident.
A state of tension has existed between the two central Asian neighbors for several years over inter-ethnic riots in Kyrgyzstan's south in 2010, and disputes over use of water resources.
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