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Militants in Tajikistan started surrendering weapons

July 29, 2012, 9:45 UTC+3

Only four pieces of firearms have been surrendered so far but the process has got under way

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DUSHANBE, July 29 (Itar-Tass) — Armed militants in the Tajik Pamir started handing over weapons last night,” a source at the Tajik State Committee for National Security told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

“Only four pieces of firearms have been surrendered so far but the process has got under way,” the source said, adding that the past night in the Pamir had been peaceful.

The Tajik government forces launched an anti-terror operation against the militants of illegal armed groups in Tajik Pamir after they had murdered General Abdullo Nazarov from the Tajik Security Services on July 21 and refused to turn in persons suspected of links to that crime.

Young people who had picked up arms unconscientiously to fight government troops and had put up resistance to the government forces were the first to hand over weapons.

“These young men are members of an armed group led by the former opposition commander Tolib Ayembekov whom Dushanbe is blaming for the murder of Tajik Security Service General Abdullo Nazarov,” the Tajik Interior Ministry said.

“Persons who voluntarily surrender weapons will be exempt from prosecution,” the Tajik Interior Ministry said in a statement, emphasizing that the step was aimed at preserving peace and stability in the region.

Law enforcers report that socio-political situation in the Tajik Pamir is calm, and that the population is doing its daily round.

A large-scale operation against illegal armed groups got under way in the Tajik Pamir on July 24. It was preceded by the murder of a 56-year-old general of the Tajik Security Services. Abdullo Nazarov was killed in a Khorog suburb on July 21 when he was returning from the Ishkhashim administrative center in his official car. A group of people blocked his way. They pulled the general out of the car, delivered several blows at him that were incompatible with life and escaped.

General Abdullo Nazarov was the chief of Tajik State National Security Committee department for the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province.

The local tobacco mafia is believed to be behind the general’s death.

The anti-terror operation in the Pamir region claimed the lives of 48 people from both sides, including 17 government troops and law enforcers. There were also civilian casualties. However, public pressure helped stopping the bloodshed. The United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union, Russia, the United States and some other countries expressed their concern over the escalation of tensions in the Pamir region.

The Tajik authorities and militant chieftains started talks on July 25. They were held through mediators, who included representatives of civil society and the clergy.

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