Kyrgyzstan has handed neighboring Uzbekistan a protest note over an incident on Wednesday, in which Uzbek border guards killed a Kyrgyz citizen who had illegally crossed the border, the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
The victim was killed during a fight between the Uzbek guards and a group of Kyrgyz who had come into Uzbekistan across a bridge built 500 meters from a border checkpoint. A larger bridge used for authorized crossings was unilaterally dismantled by Uzbekistan in winter 2003.
"The excessive aggressiveness and unfriendly attitude of Uzbek servicemen towards Kyrgyz citizens has repeatedly led to incidents on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border," the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry press service said, quoting the contents of the note.
"The Kyrgyz side feels extremely concerned about the disproportionate and unjustified use of firearms by Uzbek servicemen against Kyrgyz citizens, which has already produced lethal outcomes."
The incident at the Shakhrikhan-Sai checkpoint "runs against the spirit of the Treaty on Eternal Friendship between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed in December 1996," the ministry said. "The Uzbek side must bear the whole responsibility for possible consequences of this incident."
The ministry insisted on a joint investigation and "exhaustive measures against the serviceman who used his weapon."
Interfax, July 18, 2003