Tajik forces demand handover of rebel fighters

July 25, 2012 12:36


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DUSHANBE - Tajik government forces on Wednesday demanded rebels hand over four fighters accused of murdering a secret police chief, in return for calling off an offensive in which 42 people have died.

The ultimatum, accompanied by a brief ceasefire, followed a government campaign to capture former warlord Tolib Ayombekov in a remote mountain region bordering Afghanistan.

Twelve soldiers and 30 rebel fighters were killed in the fighting on Tuesday, officials said, three days after Maj.-Gen. Abdullo Nazarov, regional head of the State Committee on National Security (GKNB), was beaten to death.

A resident of Khorog, capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region and the closest town to the fighting deep in the Pamir mountains, said shops and markets had reopened and there was no sound of gunfire on Wednesday.

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