DUSHANBE, April 19, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Tension on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has abated after the Tajik authorities released a Kyrgyz citizen detained for "illegal trade in mercury," Radio Liberty’s Kyrgyz Service reports.

About 100 residents of the village of Kara-Bak on the Kyrgyz side of the border gathered on April 18 to demand the release of Rasul Burkanov, who had been detained the previous day.

The Tajik authorities duly released Burkanov after it became clear that Tajik police apprehended him on Kyrgyz territory, and that it was therefore up to the Kyrgyz authorities to investigate his alleged illegal activities.  It is not clear whether Burkanov was taken into custody after he was handed over to Kyrgyz officials.

Burkanov was not available for immediate comment.  One of his relatives, Kurmanbek Saparov, told RFE/RL that the situation will remain tense along the border unless signs are posted clearly marking the territory of the two neighboring countries.

Such incidents take place regularly along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, which has not been officially demarcated since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Almost half the total 970-kilometer border, most of it separating Kyrgyzstan''s Batken district and Tajikistan''s Isfara district, remains in dispute.