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Tajikistan: Four Servicemen Killed

Dushanbe, 17 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Authorities in Tajikistan say unidentified gunmen have killed four Tajik servicemen along a highway west of the capital Dushanbe.

In two separate incidents last night, two non-commissioned officers of the Emergencies Ministry, and two soldiers were shot dead on the highway. Nothing is known so far about the identity or the motives of the attackers.

The shootings occurred a day after 14 soldiers of the presidential guard were killed in an attack by an unknown armed group. The Tajik authorities blamed the attack on forces opposed to the process of stabilisation in the country. Police said earlier today they had arrested four people suspected of participating in the attack.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Turkmenistan a United Nations envoy denied earlier reports Tajik refugees had crossed from Afghanistan into Turkmenistan. The UN envoy, who did not want to be identified, told our correspondent in Ashgabat there have been no refugees crossing into Turkmenistan. There has been yet no comment from the Turkmen government. An International Red Cross report said some 5,000 refugees, fleeing fighting, left a camp in northern Afghanistan and crossed over into Turkmenistan earlier this week.