Authorities confirm death of mutinous general

17/09/2015 10:17
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, September 17, 2015, Asia-Plus – The Interior Ministry’s press center and the State Committee for National Security (SCNS)’s center for public relations reported yesterday evening that the security operation in the Romit Gorge area to the east of Dushanbe has been ended.

They noted in a joint statement that fugitive former Deputy Defense Minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda had been killed along with 10 of his supporters during a battle in Romit.  Nazarzoda’s associate Colonel Junaidulloh Umarov was reportedly also killed.

​Nazarzoda and a group of his followers were surrounded by government security forces in the Gusgev area about 110 kilometers east of Dushanbe and were killed after refusing to surrender.

During the clashes between the government forces and fighters loyal to Nazarzoda in Romit, commander of Alpha Group (the SCNS elite subunit), Colonel Rustam Amakiyev, and three officers of Alpha Group and OMON (special police unit) were killed.

In all, 14 people from both sides were reportedly killed in yesterday’s gunbattle in Romit – four government servicemen and 10 members of the illegal armed formation led by Nazarzoda.

We will recall that former deputy defense minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda and a group of gunmen under his control launched a predawn attack on the main police station in the Vahdat Township east of the Tajik capital on September 4, and clashed later that day with security forces at a Defense Ministry building not far from the Dushanbe International Airport.  Nine police officers were killed and six others were wounded in those attacks.

Nazarzoda, his associate Colonel Junaidulloh Umarov, and several other gunmen then fled to the Romit Gorge, adjacent to Vahdat, where security forces were targeting them in a large-scale manhunt.

Hours after the September 4 attacks, President Emomali Rahmon dismissed Nazarzoda as deputy defense minister “for committing a crime.”

The Prosecutor-General's Office said on September 8 that Abduhalim Nazarzoda has been officially charged with high treason, terrorism, sabotage, and creating an extremist group.

Tajik officials say 30 members of the group have been killed and more than 100 others arrested during the operation and that weapons and vehicles have been seized from the group.

Abduhalim Nazarzoda, 51, had served as deputy defense minister since January 2014.  He joined the security forces in June 1997 when the government and the opposition signed a peace accord to end the five-year civil war.

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