Wednesday, July 25, 2012 -
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon Wednesday morning declared a full ceasefire from fighting between government troops and militants in eastern Tajikistan and demanded the surrender of four murder suspects.
The move followed a day of heavy fighting that has reportedly killed nearly 50 people in and around the city of Khorog, provincial capital of the remote mountainous Gorno-Badakhshan.
“This decision was made in connection with the fact that there are wounded people and the bodies of those killed may decompose on the streets,” the Tajik independent news agency Asia-Plus reported the provincial governor Qodir Qosim as saying.
Authorities said that at least 30 militants and 12 soldiers were killed in the fighting, while a further six civilians in the city were shot dead by snipers.
Qosim proposed a “safe corridor” for the removal of corpses from the area close to the border with Afghanistan, the KyrTAG news agency reported.
The clashes erupted after the government moved hundreds of troops into the mountainous region following the assassination of regional security chief General Abdullo Nazarov.
Authorities are calling for the surrender of four suspects wanted for his murder last weekend.
The government accused Tolib Ayombekov, a former warlord from the country’s five-year civil war in the mid-1990s, of operating a crime outfit that smuggled drugs, precious stones, and tobacco over the border. The officials claimed that Ayombekov is also linked to several other killings.
Rahmon held an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday night in Dushanbe to discuss the Khorog situation.