KHUJAND, December 15, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- Uzbek border guards have shot and wounded two residents of the Shurcha village in Sughd’s Panjakent district along the Tajik-Uzbek border in the Panjakent district.

The incident took place on December 12, at about 10:00 pm.  Abdurahmon Taylonov and Hofiz Normatov tried to cross the border in the area of the border-crossing checkpoint Qirqarcha to visit their relatives in the Urgut district of the Uzbek region of Samarqand.

Their relatives told Asia-Plus that Uzbek border guards had shot on sight.  “After that, they were taken to the hospital in the Urgut district,” the relatives said.  According to them, they do not know about health condition of their wounded relatives because they are not being allowed to visit them in Urgut.

Local residents say they have to cross the border illegally because the Qirqarcha and Jarteppa crossings in Panjakent were closed by Uzbek authorities 1.5 years ago already.

Asia-Plus has failed to get commentary on this incident from official sources.

In the meantime, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on December 14 that Tajik border guards told RFE/RL that this was the fourth case of Uzbek border guards shooting Tajiks in Panjakent in 2009.