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Central Asia: Mutinous Tajik Army Commander Makes Demands

By Ravshan Temirov

Dushanbe, 16 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The Commander of the Tajik Army's First Brigade, Colonel Mahmud Khudaberdiyev, said he wants personnel changes in the Khatlon Oblast and regional government.

He also said he wanted that Khatlon Oblast be again divided into two regions, Kurgan-Teppe and Kulyab, as it was prior to 1993.

Khudaberdiyev occupied the city of Yavon in northern Khatlon last week forcing some officials from office. He said some officials in Khatlon represent the interests of mafia structures and they should be replaced with more "professional" politicians.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Abdumajid Dostiev has been sent to Khudaberdiyev's headquarters in Kurgan-Teppe to find out the colonel's demands.

Dostiev denied media reports that Khudaberdiyev was against the return of opposition fighters who fled Tajikistan during the civil war in 1992. An official in Tajikistan's military said that the First Brigade is prepared to aid in returning refugees and opposition fighters to the Kurgan-Teppe area providing none are armed.