Tajik rebels surrender after threat of new assault – chicagotribune.com

Posted: July 29, 2012 in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE (Reuters) – Rebels facing off against government troops in Tajikistan’s volatile east began laying down their weapons on Sunday after the authorities threatened to launch a new offensive to capture a former warlord accused of killing a local security chief.

President Inomali Rakhmon had called a ceasefire late last Tuesday after heavy fighting, promising to pardon anyone who disarmed while demanding that the rebels handed over Tolib Ayombekov, the former warlord, along with three fighters.

A senior Tajik security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity on Sunday that the rebels had started to surrender at about 0200 GMT, handing over “dozens of guns”.

“We now hope that everything will end peacefully,” he said.

Tajikistan’s interior ministry confirmed the news in a statement, saying: “Members of illegal armed units in the Gorno-Badakhshan region have started turning in their arms … Those laying down their weapons are immediately amnestied.”

Rakhmon had sent troops into the area on Tuesday in pursuit of former opposition field commander Ayombekov, accusing him of killing Major-General Abdullo Nazarov, the head of the Gorno-Badakhshan branch of the GKNB, successor of the Soviet-era KGB, on July 21.

Officials said the heavy fighting that followed killed 17 troops, 30 rebels and one civilian, in violence that raised concerns about the stability of the majority Muslim nation.

On Saturday – after several days of talks – the authorities issued a final warning, telling the rebels they would launch a new large-scale military offensive against them unless they surrendered.

via Tajik rebels surrender after threat of new assault – chicagotribune.com.

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