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Over 33,000 evacuated in Kyrgyzstan from conflict zone on the border

19,200 of them were children and teenagers

BISHKEK, May 2. /TASS/. More than 30,000 Kyrgyz citizens have been evacuated from the zone of the armed conflict on the border with Tajikistan, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development Aliza Soltonbekova said on Sunday.

"A total of 33,388 people have been evacuated," Soltonbekova told a briefing in Bishkek, noting that 19,200 of them were children and teenagers.

Most of those evacuated are in dire need of food, medicines, clothes and essentials, the deputy minister said. She expressed gratitude to the country’s citizens for providing support for the evacuees. According to the latest data, more than 100 tonnes of humanitarian assistance have been collected for citizens of the affected areas.

The situation on the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan near the Golovnoy water intake facility, which each side considers as its territory, escalated on April 28, after clashes had sparked between residents of the two countries’ border areas. On April 29, armed skirmishes between Kyrgyz and Tajik servicemen broke out. Kyrgyzstan accused Tajikistan of using mortars, machine guns and Mi-24 military helicopters. On the evening of April 29, the sides agreed to a ceasefire and the pullout of troops. However, 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 and more than 150 others were injured. The majority of casualties are civilians. During the clashes in the republic several dozen buildings were burned down or destroyed, including a school, a border outpost and a fire station. May 1-2 were declared national days of mourning in Kyrgyzstan. According to the Border Service, on May 2 the situation on the border stabilized and the sides began withdrawing forces and equipment to the places of permanent deployment.