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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Killed, 50 Arrested After Clash

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Riot police were patrolling two villages in southern Kazakhstan on Thursday after a weekend clash between ethnic Kazakhs and Chechens left three men dead and six others injured, police and media reports said.

The violence was triggered by a fight in the village of Malovodnoye, where a Chechen man shot and injured a Kazakh after a heated argument during a billiards game Saturday, the Kazakh Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The next day, the injured man and dozens of relatives and friends went to Kazatkom, his opponent's village. In the ensuing violence, three men were fatally shot and six others were hospitalized, the ministry said.

About 50 men have been arrested, interior ministry spokesman Bagdat Kojakhmetov told the Kazakhstan Today news agency. He said several police units, including riot police, were patrolling the two villages, which are about 150 kilometers from the commercial capital, Almaty.

The ministry did not identify the victims or those suspected of the shootings.

Chechens were deported to Central Asia en masse from their homeland in southern Russia by Stalin during World War II, but many later returned. There are now about 30,000 Chechens in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan has not experienced the kind of tension seen between Chechens and ethnic Russians in Russia.