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Bishkek, Dushanbe withdraw troops from border to places of permanent deployment

The border units continue to function in a reinforced mode, the statement stressed

BISHKEK, May 2. /TASS/. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have begun to withdraw servicemen and military equipment from the border armed conflict zone, the Border Guard Service of the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security reported on Sunday.

"The sides began withdrawal of supplementary forces and equipment from the state border line to points of permanent dislocation," the statement said. According to the agency, the situation at the border is "characterized as stable," "no incidents or shootouts have been recorded" overnight.

"The border units continue to function in a reinforced mode," the statement stressed.

The conflict between the two republics erupted on April 28 near the Golovnoy water distribution point, which Tajikistan considers as its own territory, while Kyrgyzstan considers it disputed. Kyrgyzstan accused Tajikistan of using mortars, machine guns and Mi-24 military helicopters. On the evening of April 29, the sides agreed on a ceasefire and withdrawal of military units although separate flare-ups continued until May 1. On Saturday, at a meeting of representatives of the governments of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the parties agreed to return military equipment to places of permanent deployment.

According to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health, as a result of the conflict on the border with Tajikistan, 34 residents of Kyrgyzstan were killed, 139 were injured. The majority of the killed and wounded are civilians. During the clashes in the republic several dozen buildings were burned or destroyed, including a school, a border checkpoint and a fire station. Over 27,000 people were evacuated from the conflict zone. May 1-2 were declared national days of mourning in Kyrgyzstan.