Fugitive general alive and security operation in Romit underway

14/09/2015 10:12
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, September 14, Asia-Plus – Russian news agency TASS on September 13 cited a source in the Tajik law enforcement authorities as saying that a fugitive former deputy defense minister is alive, his whereabouts are know and he is surrounded.

"The information published by some media sources over the death of Abduhalim Nazarzoda is not confirmed," the source told TASS.

We will recall that Asia-Plus and Avesta reported on September 11 that Abduhalim Nazarzoda was killed in the Romit Gorge east of Dushanbe where he was believed to be hiding along with several supporters.

Meanwhile, a large scale security operation in the Romit Gorge in a bid to apprehend Nazarzoda and his supporters is under way.

The Interior Ministry and the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) says that three other members of Nazarzoda’s group were detained in Romit on September 13.    

We will recall that 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.

Authorities say Nazarzoda, his alleged associate Colonel Juhaidulloh Umarov, and several other gunmen then fled to the Romit Gorge, adjacent to Vahdat, where security forces are 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.

According to official data, 22 members of the group have been killed and 117 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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