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1 Killed, 18 Injured in Clashes Over Water, Land Rights in Soviet Asia

From Reuters

Clashes among villagers over land and water rights have killed one person and injured 18 in a fresh outbreak of violence in Soviet Central Asia, Tass said Friday.

The news agency said the villagers, armed with firearms and knives, fought pitched battles Thursday on the border between the republics of Kirghizia and Tadzhikistan.

Tass said the fighting, involving about 1,000 people across three border villages, erupted after Tajiks and Kirghiz disagreed about use of water and land in the area.

Curfew Imposed

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It said a curfew had been clamped on the entire area and senior officials, including the Communist Party chiefs of both republics, had been dispatched to the area.

The violence occurred about 60 miles from the edge of the Fergana Valley in the neighboring republic of Uzbekistan, where clashes last month left more than 100 people dead. The earlier clashes pitted native Uzbeks against Meskhetian Turks deported to the area by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during World War II.

Three people have died this week in clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh, a part of the republic of Azerbaijan, whose mainly Armenian population wants to join the neighboring republic of Armenia.

More than 90 people died last year in Azerbaijan and Armenia in fighting over the territory.

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Unrest also broke out last month in the western part of the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan, killing four people in the town of Novy Uzen in clashes between local residents and temporary workers from nearby regions.


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