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Tajikistan: Government, Opposition Trade Accusations Over Clashes

Dushanbe, 1 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Tajik government and the Islamic opposition over the weekend blamed each other for a clash Friday in which two opposition fighters were killed.

A Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman told our correspondent that the two opposition fighters were killed in Kofarnikhon near Dushanbe while resisting arrest. The spokesman claimed the two were guilty of unspecified "criminal actions."

Opposition first deputy leader Khodz Akbar Turadzonzoda, in a statement to RFE/RL, however said that the two were killed in their sleep inside their home in Kofarnikhon.

Commenting on another incident south of Dushanbe, in which government troops repotedly came under fire from opposition forces yesterday, Turadzonzoda said the attack was provoked by the government soldiers taking seven opposition fighters hostage. One government soldier was reported wounded in the clash.

Islamic opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri, in a separate statement to RFE/RL, today expressed deep concern over the kidnapping of Mufti Amonullo Negmatzoda. Negmatzoda was reported to have been abducted by rebel field commander Rizvon Sadirov, who has demanded the release of his brother currently in jail and has threatened to kill the mufti.