28 september 2020

Central Asia news

Time of trouble around Sokh, an enclave on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border

11.05.2005 16:51 msk

N.Posdnyzkova, Yu.Chernogayev

Ferghana Valley


Sokh is a small Uzbek enclave on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. Residents of a common state once, the locals are at odds with each other nowadays. Patrols of the police and border guards were dispatched to the area several days ago. Additional security measures are ascribed to the clashes among inhabitants of border settlements where several locals were reported wounded.

"Several men sustained wounds of varying severity. Three cars were overturned, roof of a building damaged," Adylbek Shadymanov, Deputy Governor of the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan, told Deutsche Welle. He said that the disturbances had been initiated by Tajiks, residents of the Uzbek village of Khushjar, who raided the Kyrgyz territory and kicked up a row with the locals. Blows were traded. Kyrgyz police arrived, and the conflict was settled. Khushjar villagers (this settlement is located inside of the Uzbek enclave of Sokh) blocked the road across the enclave, the one residents of Kyrgyzstan always use. Some Kyrgyz villages found themselves in isolation therefore. The area is mountainous which makes travel from one settlement to another difficult, roads between them scarce.

Law enforcement agencies control the situation at this point but another escalation of violence is not ruled out. Residents of nearby villages are not exactly endeared to one another. Shadymanov ascribes this state of affairs to the joint use of water. Sogment, the stream on the Kyrgyz territory, is the only source of water for residents of the Kyrgyz settlement of Charbak. Residents of Uzbek villages use it to water crops.

Tension cannot be ascribed to this reason alone. Border guards and customs offices between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan interfere with trade. Along with everything else, children from several Kyrgyz villages are forced to go to school across the Uzbek enclave. They were already beaten by Uzbeks on several occasions. There is an agreement which permits Uzbeks to use Kyrgyz pastures - for a fee to be paid to the local forestry or district administration. The Uzbeks refuse to pay, however, and regularly ignore the border crossing rules.

PR Department of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry declined comments.