DUSHANBE, January 7, 2013, Asia-Plus -- The Uzbek National Security Service has issued a statement blaming Kyrgyz border guards for the crisis in Uzbekistan''s Soh exclave, which is located inside Kyrgyzstan''s southern region of Batken, Radio Liberty reported  Monday afternoon.

The statement accuses Kyrgyz border guards of firing on local residents protesting the placement of electricity towers by Kyrgyz border guards on January 6.  Five Uzbek citizens were reportedly wounded.

However, Kyrgyz authorities say that residents of the village of Hoshyar in Soh attacked Kyrgyz border guards on January 5 as they were overseeing the installation of power lines for the newly constructed Charbak border post.

According to Kyrgyz authorities, Kyrgyz border guards fired into the air to disperse the attackers.  On January 6, Kyrgyz authorities say, hundreds of Soh residents attacked Kyrgyz border guards and took hostage dozens of Kyrgyz citizens from the village of Charbak and from vehicles with Kyrgyz license plates that were passing through Soh.

A Kyrgyz policeman was reportedly seriously injured in the clashes.

Fourteen Kyrgyz women and children were freed early on January 7.  The press service for the Batken administration in southern Kyrgyzstan said negotiations succeeded in gaining the release of those hostages, but Batken Governor Janysh Razakov said some 20 more Kyrgyz citizens remain in Soh. RFE/RL''s Kyrgyz Service reports they are being held in Uzbekistan''s National Security Service headquarters in Soh.

RFE/RL quoted Tokon Mamytov, the chairman of the Kyrgyz parliament''s Security and Defense Committee, as saying that negotiations are being held to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

The Batken prosecutor''s office said it was looking into filing charges against the Soh residents for illegally detaining Kyrgyz citizens, attacking members of Kyrgyzstan''s law enforcement agencies, and causing property damage.

Uzbekistan''s Soh district has reportedly aggravated ties between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan for more than a decade.  The district is surrounded by Kyrgyzstan''s southern Batken Province, one of the most undeveloped regions in Kyrgyzstan.

The Soviet-era main road connecting Kyrgyzstan''s southern cities of Osh and Batken runs through Uzbekistan''s Soh.

Uzbekistan severely restricts passage through its district, leaving many drivers to take their chances on poorly marked, often unpaved paths used as detours.

The population of Hoshyar is mainly ethnic Tajik, which is generally true of residents throughout the whole district.

Since the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan staged attacks in southern Kyrgyzstan in 1999, Uzbek authorities have bolstered the military presence in Soh.  The soldiers are mainly ethnic Uzbeks.

The incident at Soh comes just two days after Uzbek border guards shot dead a Kyrgyz citizen along the two countries'' regular border.

Uzbek border guards said the man was a smuggler trying to illegally cross the border, but Kyrgyz border guards released a statement saying it was “not the first time an unarmed citizen of Kyrgyzstan” was killed by Uzbek guards along the border.

Uzbek border guards have reportedly also closed the road at Aydarken, again forcing motorists on the road between Soh and Batken to use detours.